By Rana Husseini

AMMAN – Police are searching for suspects in connection with a shooting incident on Monday that targeted engineers working on the Disi project in the southern region, official sources said.

The incident, which occurred at 10:00am, involved four Jordanian and foreign engineers who were in a vehicle on the Azraq-Jafer highway, Police Spokesperson Lt. Col. Mohammad Khatib said.

“The group was intercepted by a vehicle whose occupants shot several rounds towards them, but none of the engineers were injured and their vehicle was not hit either,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

The police official said the engineers gave a good description of the vehicle that intercepted them and “police patrol units are looking for the vehicle in the Governorate of Maan where the Disi project is located.”

A second source told The Jordan Times that the engineers had just finished inspecting a brake pressure tank at a site close to Jafer village when “they were intercepted by the vehicle with a group of men waving guns at them and asking them to pull over”.

“The driver of the vehicle pretended to abide by their demands and pulled over,” the source said, adding that as soon as the men descended from the vehicle and started walking in their direction, he sped off and they started shooting at them.

The source said this was not the first incident to occur near the Disi project.

“There have been several shooting incidents, including one in January that left two dead and others injured… the incidents mostly revolve around disagreements between residents in the area over employment matters and other property disputes,” the source said.

Later that month, more than 1,500 sheikhs, deputies and community leaders in Maan and the Southern Badia signed a code of conduct to prevent future occurrences of social violence.

At the time, MP Khaled Fanatseh (Maan, 1st District) told The Jordan Times that the agreement sought to ease tensions between city dwellers and bedouins after the deadly skirmish in Shidiyeh over contracts for the Disi project, which also led to rioting in the city, 220km south of Amman.

Being carried out on a build-operate-transfer basis, the Disi project will provide the capital with 110 million cubic metres of water via pipeline, which will start at the ancient Disi aquifer in southern Jordan and end in Amman, passing through several water stations in Maan, Tafileh, Karak and Madaba.