Infamous Mecca quarter to be razed

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The most infamous neighborhood in Mecca is set to be demolished within a month to make way for development projects in the holy city.

For two decades, the Hoash Bakr neighborhood was notorious for being a hub of criminal activity and the operations of dangerous individuals despite frequent police raids.


The Mecca governorate’s committee for underdeveloped areas has sent short written notices to the neighborhood’s residents that their property should be evacuated by August 27.

The neighborhood, known among Africans as Guden Guda (“The Stolen Items Market”), is one of the most underdeveloped neighborhoods in Mecca.

Okaz/Saudi Gazette visited the houses surrounding the neighborhood and asked residents about the committee’s decision.

All residents said they were joyful over the decision, claiming that it would put an end to a “nightmare”.

They said 90 percent of the neighborhood’s residents were Africans who did not have any IDs, let alone residency permits.

Removing this neighborhood will help police fight crime better, according to Makkah police spokesman Lt. Col. Abdulmohsin Al-Maiman.

He added that this neighborhood together with similar criminal hotspots have all been under the police’s constant surveillance.

The neighborhood has contributed to a rapid increase in crime, he noted. “We’re continuously monitoring all selling and purchasing activities inside the neighborhood’s market, known for displaying stolen stuff for sale,” he said.

The Haramain Railway project and King Abdulaziz Road project will rid the holy city of its underdeveloped neighborhoods, some of which are known to be hubs for criminal activity.

A new western entrance that reflects the holiness of the city will be built near Hoash Bakr, while new buildings with Islamic architectural designs will be constructed along the northern and southern parts of the neighborhood, said the spokesman.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette.

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