Saudi students in Kansas concerned for their safety

With a new semester starting, Saudi students are planning to stay closely together. (via Jimmy Emerson, Flickr)

Saudi students returning for their fall semester at Wichita State University in Kansas are having major concerns for their safety — both on and off their campus.

Their worries come following the apparent murder of a 23-year-old student from Makkah who was found with shotgun wounds on the parking lot campus this past weekend.

The victim — who hasn’t been officially identified — died in hospital a few hours later due to his injuries. Approximately 500 students from the Kingdom study in Wichita.

Speaking exclusively to Saudi Gazette, Munthatar Al-Hassan, who heads the Saudi Student Association in Kansas, said: “We know the person who was shot as a new student to Wichita State.

He recently transferred from Oregon. We are just so sorry, and now we are all worried about our safety. I had heard Wichita was dangerous, but this is the third person to be killed here in less than a year. Now we are really worried, and we don’t want our families to worry too.”

The dead student hasn’t been officially identified pending next of kin intimation. Wichita has a population of over 300,000, and is the largest city in the state of Kansas.

'We wish we had more security here'

Calls to four separate police departments in Wichita were not returned to the Saudi Gazette at the time this story was filed.

However a Saudi official at the U.S. Embassy in Washington told Saudi Gazette that when crimes like this happen, the name of the victim and more specific details of the crime are often withheld until a family relative arrives to the United States from the Kingdom.

With a new semester starting, 23-year-old Munthatar Al-Hassan, who’s studying Health Science, said all Saudi students are now planning to stay closely together, “So we can feel more safe.”

He added: “None of us are going to go out late at night, and most of us have all moved off campus. We wish we had more security here.

Last year a Saudi student had a knife pulled at his neck when he was trying to ride the subway. We all knew Wichita wasn’t safe.

But the fact is we need to study and we need to try and stay safe.” Sadly random gun violence in the United States seems to be happening more often.

In recent months there have been shootings in churches, schools and movie theaters. It’s something that saddens Munthatar, who lead a group of volunteer Saudi students to help clean up downtown Wichita.

“Everyone looks at the U.S. as a safe country. Everyone thinks it’s fine. But is different and we need more security.”

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:46 - GMT 06:46
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