15 Killed in Clashes between Aal Obeidah and Military Forces THEY ARE CHALLENGING THE STATE! [Archives:2001/27/Front Page]

July 2 2001

Pitched tribal clashes erupted Sunday evening between the tribes of Jahm, one of Khawlan tribes, and Al-Jada’an tribe of Nahm. The fighting took place in an area 30 km to the north of the city of Mareb. The clashes which began at 6 o’clock Sunday evening were still raging between the two tribes at the time of reporting the news, using heavy and light weapons. Six people from both tribes have been reported as seriously injured. The fighting led to blocking traffic on the Sana’a-Mareb road.
Tribal sources said that the cause of the clashes was a dispute over ownership of a piece of land situated between the two tribes. Leaked information indicated that the said area is rich in natural gas.
The Mareb province, 180 km east of Sana’a, had on friday seen a shootout between army soldiers and tribesmen from Obeidah tribe resulting in the death of seven soldiers.
Tribal sources in Mareb told YT that 15 soldiers out of 100 who went to Obeidah to crack down those suspected of piercing the oil pipeline in Serwah were killed last Thursday. The sources added that 2 tribesmen were killed in the clashes, which also resulted in 28 injuries from the army and 6 from the tribe.
Forty soldiers that were captured by the tribesmen following the incident were released on Sunday evening. The tribesmen were agitated by the big number of soldiers tracing the pipeline attackers and misconstructed their purpose not to detain the attackers only but to attack the whole tribal community. Soldiers were, eventually, attacked before they had reached the village of the suspects.
Brigadier Ali Mohammed Salah, Deputy Staff Commander moved to the area on Saturday to settle the problem with the tribesmen. The clashes were stopped as most members of the military group were killed, injured or arrested. Negotiations with the lawless tribesmen have been initiated to release the arrested ones and sort out other differences.
Yemeni oil pipeline was pierced 28 times during 1997-1999, the last of which was on April 28th. Thousands of barrels of oil were spilled. This time the pumping of oil was stopped again causing the country a heavy loss of revenue. The country has also to pay compensation to the company working in the site. Demands of the bombers are not yet known but it is expected that they are related to the implementation of development projects which tribesmen always demand.
Political observers believe the government has been very lenient with lawless tribesmen who have done incalculable damage to Yemen’s reputation as well as economy. The easy availability of different sorts of weapons to these people has augmented violation of law by these tribesmen. The government, in the past dealt with similar law breakers in other areas very ruthlessly and was able to put them down.