DUBAI // Three people men have been arrested in connection with a sword and knife attack on a teenager which has left him fighting for his life.
The 18-year-old Emirati, named only as Rashid, was stabbed several times in his neck, belly and back and sustained multiple injuries to his head, arms and legs after a gang of up to nine men surrounded his cousin’s home in Mirdif shortly after midnight on Tuesday.
The arrested men, including two brothers, have been referred to public prosecution over charges of attempted murder.
Maj Gen Khamis Al Mazeina, the deputy head of Dubai Police, said last night: “Investigations have revealed that these three are those who were involved in the assault of the young man. They had planned the attack as a consequence of the earlier fight.
“We are a country of institutions, it is intolerable to have youth solving arguments in such a manner.”
The teenager was attacked with swords in a feud thought to have been started over a mobile phone.
The gang allegedly forced Rashid out of the house by threatening to burn it down. When he went out to meet them, they attacked him with swords and knives as his siblings and cousins watched in horror.
“There were at least eight or nine of them,” said Nawaf Fayez Ebrahim, 20, Rashid’s cousin. “Initially there were only two and we were talking to them but as soon as I turned my back everything changed.
“They dragged Rashid outside the house and started attacking him with swords.”
Mr Ebrahim and his sister pulled Rashid into the house after the attack and called the emergency services but the attackers escaped before police arrived.
The injured teenager was taken to the trauma centre at Rashid Hospital where he had several operations. He is still being treated in the intensive care unit and his condition was said to be critical.
The attack is thought to have been motivated by an earlier fight between two groups of youths on April 8 in Mirdiff Park.
“My two brothers, who are 16 and 15, were in the park when a group of five approached them and took their mobile phone and refused to give it back,” said Mr Ebrahim. “So I and Rashid went there to check the situation after we received a phone call from my brothers.”
When the pair arrived they began arguing with the other group and a fight broke out.
Mr Ebrahim believed that was not the end of the matter. He said that Rashid received a phone call about an hour before the house was surrounded. The caller “told him that if they were to see any of us they would cut off our hands”, said Mr Ebrahim.
The injured teenager’s father, Abu Rashid, said he feared a revenge attack. “I want the law to take its course but I also want it to happen quickly as I fear the reaction of the young people in the family,” he said.
“They would want to take revenge for the attack and then we would get into a vicious circle.”
The incident is the latest in a series of attacks involving bladed weapons that have left many worried that such crimes are on the rise.
In 2009, 27 knife crimes were reported. A year later that figure rose to 81. Although there was a fall to 60 in 2011 police say the overall trend remains disturbing.
Almost a third of all crimes registered last year involving knives were carried out by people under the age of 18. There are no available figures for last year.
Since 2010, Dubai Police have deployed patrols to catch youngsters with bladed weapons after a 13-year-old boy was stabbed to death by a group of teenagers outside his home in Rashidiya.
“Surely something is being done wrong, why are such incidents reoccurring?” asked Abu Rashid. “They need to do much more to combat the practice.”