Lebanon News

Bomb at Akkar home revives local land feud

File - A general view of Akkar, Friday, Sept. 13, 2013. (The Daily Star/Antoine Amrieh)

AKKAR, Lebanon: A building still under construction in Akkar was blown up Monday by a huge quantity of explosives, reviving historical tensions between the villages of Fnaydeq and Akkar al-Atiqa over the ownership of the Qamoua plain, security sources said.

Hussein Abu Baker’s 500-meter-square property in Qamoua plain, located in the mountainous areas of Akkar-Qaitaa, was almost entirely destroyed by the huge explosion. The perpetrators have yet to be identified by security forces, which launched an investigation.

The head of the Union of Qaitaa Municipalities, Abdelilah Zakariya, and Fnaydeq’s mayor, Khaldoun Taleb, visited the site.

“The explosion in Qamoua is denounced by all, especially as this area is surrounded by neighborhoods from all sides,” Zakariya said, adding that the perpetrators “want to cause civil strife between the neighboring villages.”

He recalled that a similar incident occurred two months ago, in which a room built for a project to channel the water of al-Farrouj spring from the outskirts of the village to Fnaydeq was also blown up. The perpetrators were never identified.

In the early 20th century, dozens died in clashes between Fnaydeq and Akkar al-Atiqa over the Qamoua plain. Though both are majority Sunni villages, tensions between the Future Movement and March 8 supporters have run high. The two villages are located on the border of the majority Shiite area of Hermel.

“Do the perpetrators want to turn Fnaydeq into another Arsal?” Zakariya asked. “That’s why we want the security forces to intervene and the Army to restore the checkpoint that used to be in the Qamoua region. ... Residents of Fnaydeq will not remain silent and they insist on knowing the identities of those who want to incite civil strife,” he added.

Taleb said the explosion did not target the home of Hussein Abu Baker, but all the residents of Fnaydeq.

“There is a property dispute between us and Akkar al-Atiqa and we consider this explosion an attempt to cause a rift with our neighbors, and we don’t want this,” he said.

“We abide by the rule of law and the word of the judiciary on this issue. However, we will rebuild the house and we ask the security forces not to prevent us from doing this,” he said.

“Since the explosion we have blocked the road between us and Akkar al-Atiqa and we want this road to stay blocked to prevent clashes,” he added.

Interior Minister Nouhad Machnouk instructed the security forces to launch an immediate investigation into the explosion and uncover the perpetrators of the attack. He also asked the residents of Akkar to resist attempts to divide them.

“The residents of Akkar should stay unified and abort attempts to cause civil strife among them in this region, which is known for coexistence and tolerance among all sects,” Machnouk said in a statement issued by his office.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 01, 2014, on page 4.




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