Saudi regime forces have reportedly shot and killed a tribal activist in the northwestern Tabuk region of the kingdom after he dismissed a demolition order and resisted leaving his home to allow construction of the controversial megacity project NEOM pursued by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman in the area.
Social media activists said Saudi forces raided al-Khuraybah area, located more than 1400 kilometers (869 miles) northwest of the capital Riyadh, on Monday and fatally shot Abdul-Rahim al-Howeiti.
Footage and images shared by the activists under the Arabic hashtag “Martyrdom of Abdul-Rahim al-Howeiti” show Saudi police cars surrounding the area, and then spraying Howeiti’s house with a lot of bullets.
Howeiti was a prominent member of the large Howeitat tribe, which has lived in the area for hundreds of years.
He had published numerous videos protesting the mega development project and the forced displacement of local residents.
In his videos, Howeiti had censured the House of Saud over uprooting Saudi nationals for the sake of a project that runs counter to the history and traditions of the region.
At an international conference in October 2017, bin Salman unveiled plans to build a new city and business zone, known as NEOM, which officials say will be backed up by more than $500 billion in investment.
The so-called city of the future is conceived to span an area of 26,500 square kilometers, stretching across the borders of northwest Saudi Arabia into Jordan and Egypt.
According to an unnamed Saudi official, Riyadh plans to build seven cities and tourism projects, while Egypt will focus on developing the existing resort cities of Sharm el-Sheikh and Hurghada.
Adjacent to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba close to maritime trade routes that use the Suez Canal, NEOM is said to be focusing on industries such as energy and water, biotechnology, food, advanced manufacturing and tourism.