Qatar conscripts civilians for security jobs at WC

Qatar has called up hundreds of civilians, including diplomats summoned back from overseas, for mandatory military service operating security checkpoints at World Cup stadiums, according to a source and documents seen by Reuters.

The conscripts are training to manage stadium security queues, frisk fans and detect contraband like alcohol, drugs or weapons concealed in ponytails, jacket linings or even false bellies, according to training materials seen by Reuters.

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Qatar expects an unprecedented influx of 1.2 million visitors for the tournament, and already has an agreement with Turkey which is supplying 3,000 riot police

The civilians were told they had been called up to assist with the World Cup and that it was their “patriotic duty” to do so, the source said. “Most people are there because they have to be — they don’t want to get in trouble,” the source said.

Some volunteers are also training alongside the conscripted force, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the plan and the training.

Asked for comment, a Qatari government official said in a statement that Qatar’s national service program would continue as normal during the World Cup.

“Recruits will provide additional support during the tournament as part of the regular program, just as they do every year at major public events, such as the National Day celebrations,” the statement added.

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