MAKKAH – Authorities in Makkah are investigating four expatriates from Yemen and Bangladesh in connection with the suspected rape and murder of a 15-year-old Algerian girl.
She was reportedly thrown from the 16th floor of Al-Muhajireen Hotel in Makkah on Wednesday.
Security officials had to be brought in to restore order after the girl’s body was found because Algerian Umrah pilgrims in Al-Ghazzah District closed the main road and demanded to see the Algerian envoy to the Kingdom.
Maj. Abdul Mohsin Al-Maiman, spokesman for the Makkah Police, said a group of Algerian Umrah pilgrims had gathered following the girl’s fall from the 16th floor of a hotel in the area close to the Grand Mosque. She fell on the roof of a neighboring hotel. He said the girl’s fall had slightly injured two Bangladeshi laborers working on the roof of the neighboring hotel.
Al-Maiman said that according to the girl’s former stepfather, the girl and her family live in France. She went missing at 9 P.M. on the night of the incident. Al-Maiman pointed out that the girl’s body was examined by criminal investigation teams and a forensic expert. He said several workers in the hotel are being held for interrogation. Foul play is suspected, he said.
The security authorities in Makkah Police have arrested several people who were present when the incident took place. They were taken to Al-Qararah Police Station for further investigation.
Sources told Okaz/Saudi Gazette that the two Yemeni workers employed by the hotel are illegal residents and violators of the residency (Iqama) and labor regulations. One of them has allegedly admitted he had developed a relationship with the girl during Ramadan.
The sources said the girl came for Umrah in Ramadan with a guardian. Her family was not able to bring her for Umrah so she came with a relative. They were supposed to depart on the morning the incident took place.
A preliminary examination of the body by the coroner found several fractures on different parts of her body. The body is in the King Faisal Hospital’s morgue in Al-Shisha. There are demands for the body to be examined by a Shariah medical committee and for a detailed report on her condition to be issued.
At Fajr (dawn) prayers the news had spread of the girl’s death. Over 300 Algerian Umrah pilgrims protested in front of the hotel after closing the main road. They demanded to see their ambassador to the Kingdom and for the perpetrators to be arrested and punished.
Brig. Gen. Ibrahim Al-Hamzi, director of Makkah Police, moved his security teams into the area to pacify the angry pilgrims and to reassure them that the Kingdom’s law will ensure justice is done. After three hours of discussions the road was reopened and normal traffic flow resumed. – Okaz/SG