Manama, 10 hours, 25 minutes ago
There was no truth to the reports of an imminent terrorist attack in Bahrain and people behind such rumours are seeking to spread fear in the community, said a senior government official.
Minister of State for Information Affairs Sameera Rajab was responding to suggestions that extremists were planning to detonate a bomb in Manama during the height of the Ashoora religious festival, which climaxes this weekend.
“They (those behind the rumours) are trying to create panic and chaos by spreading these rumours on social media websites,” Rajab told our sister publication the Gulf Daily News.
The rumours have appeared in Arabic and English on sites such as Twitter and Facebook – and are now being circulated by e-mail and text message by worried members of the public.
“Intelligence sources revealed from Shi’ites that on the night of the ninth or tenth (of Ashoora), there will be a huge bomb in central Manama in order to blame the state for escalation,” said one Facebook warning, which had already received 133 “likes” yesterday.
It follows a spate of explosions in Gudaibiya and Adliya on November 5, which killed Indian Thirunavukarasu Murugaiyan, 29, and 33-year-old Bangladeshi Shajib Mian Shukur Mian.
One of the five blasts that day also injured Indian sanitation worker Dhana Ram Sainin, who is still recovering in hospital.
Rajab said it appeared rumours of an imminent bombing were being started to stoke panic.
“I would like the media to be careful in dealing with such speculative reports as they are not true,” she said. “If anyone wants authentic information or news they should follow the Interior Ministry’s Twitter account (@moi_bahrain).”
Meanwhile, she hoped a new law that punished those who misused social media would be passed soon.
It would allow authorities to clamp down on anyone who spreads sectarianism, hatred or seeks to polarise the community online. The law is being brought in as a result of people spreading false news during last year’s unrest.
“There is a law that has been drafted and submitted to lawmakers,” said Rajab. “Once it is implemented it will deal with cyber crime and misuse of social media by some people.” – TradeArabia News Service