ABU DHABI - The United Arab Emirates said on Sunday it has dismantled a group plotting against state security without identifying their affiliation or the number of arrests.
The prosecutor general, Salem Said Kabish, said an unspecified number of people were being questioned for having formed "a group aimed at damaging the security of the state," the official news agency WAM reported.
It said they were also suspected of "rejecting the constitution and the founding principles of power in the Emirates" and of having links with foreign organisations.
Kabish said they were being questioned to determine "the nature of the plot."
Investigations are underway to "expose the conspiracy of this organisation and its members in full," he said.
The protests that have swept four Arab heads of state from office and strengthened the Islamist movement throughout the Middle East have not been seen in the UAE, thanks in part to its cradle-to-grave welfare system.
But the authorities remain concerned that the rise to power elsewhere could embolden its own Islamists’ movement.
“Prosecutors ordered the group’s arrest and issued orders for their arrest pending investigations,” WAM said. “Investigations are continuing to uncover the extent of the conspiracy this group and its members were planning.”
The report did not give more details.
The government has arrested at least 10 Islamists in the past three months in a rare move against dissidents. Islamists in the UAE say they share similar ideology with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt but have no direct links with the group, seen as a mentor for all Islamist groups in the region.
Analysts say Islamists could tap into unease among UAE nationals over their minority status in a country of some eight million people, most of whom are incoming foreign workers.
The economic boom in Abu Dhabi and Dubai — the leading emirates in the seven-member federation — has made UAE citizens some of the world’s wealthiest with an annual income per capita of $48,000, but it has also brought what some see as unwelcome Western influence.