The Kuwaiti government brought four busloads of Palestinians, Sudanese, Yemenis, Iraqis and Kurds here Tuesday evening and expelled them into Iraqi territory as observers from the United Nations and the International Committee of the Red Cross looked on. Infants wailed and fathers sobbed as armed Kuwaiti soldiers ordered them to sit in formation in the desert and rifled through their belongings. A Red Cross delegate, Patrick Gosser of Geneva, said the group comprised 115 people _ 85 men, 10 women and 20 children.
"Please don't leave us here!" a woman cried out in anguish, covering two infants in her lap to protect them from a fierce sandstorm. "Saddam's people will surely kill us."
"What gives you the authority to leave these people here?" asked a U.N. observer.
"These people are guilty," responded a Kuwaiti military officer. "They are Iraqis and Palestinians."
Red Cross officials said the deportation, part of a stepped-up effort by Kuwait to expel citizens of nations friendly to Iraqi President Saddam Hussein during the Persian Gulf crisis, violated both the Geneva Conventions and an agreement signed by Kuwait on March 7 pledging not to forcibly repatriate foreign nationals.
"This is really a tragedy," said Salah Doury, a mechanical engineer born in Iraq who is married to a Kuwaiti and has three children. "I've given my life to building Kuwait and they just throw me out here like a dog."
The foreigners were released just beyond the last Kuwaiti checkpoint in Iraqi territory, still within the U.N.-supervised demilitarized zone. They were given no food, water, sleeping mats or flashlights, despite being dropped in a dusty, land-mine-laden no man's land in the dark of night.