A grab from an online video purportedly showing an attack on girls at a Saudi orphanage. Image Credit: Social media

Cairo: A Saudi expert has called for privatisation of state-run care homes after an alleged attack at a provincial orphanage for girls in the kingdom.

Purported videos whose veracity could not be verified went viral online last week showing baton-wielding men attacking girls in the presence of security personnel allegedly inside an orphanage in Khamis Mushait in south-west Saudi Arabia.

The clips provoked online outrage and calls for action from authorities against the wrongdoers.

Sulaiman bin Awwad, an ex-member of the Saudi Shura Council, was quoted by Okaz newspaper as urging rethinking privatisation of such facilities according to the Saudi Vision 2030, a scheme designed to boost national development and diversify oil-reliant economy.

“What happened at the girls’ orphanage in Khamis Mushait deviated from educational approaches due to a lack of education and conduct plans regulating work inside the place taking into account the girls’ circumstances and needs,” Bin Awwad added.

He noted that state authorities had earlier banned security agencies from interfering to handle problems at social care institutions.

Public prosecution in Saudi Arabia said it is investigating alleged physical abuses and purported damage to public property at the orphanage.

Authorities in Assir in south-west Saudi Arabia also ordered a committee be formed to investigate the incident and question all parties involved. The cause of the violence is not officially clear yet.