28 killed, 33 wounded in tribal vengeance, security forces helplessBloody tribal warfare [Archives:2004/796/Front Page]

December 6 2004

Hassan Al-Zaidi
In one of the bloodiest tribal wars in Yemen's recent history, 28 tribesmen were killed and another 33 wounded in a battle that took place last Thursday in the province of Al-Jawf.
The bloodshed resulted from fierce confrontations between the two prominent tribes of Al Saida and Al-Maraziq. The latter is considered one of the largest tribes in the country and belongs to the prominent Bani Nawf clan.
Historically, the revenge series between the two tribes started around one year ago when Al-Maraziq tribe attacked Al Saida tribe after one of its members was hurt in an incident that took place in the governorate between six individuals, three from each tribe over a sum of YR 6,000 (around USD 35). Al-Maraziq tribe's attack on Al Saida resulted in six deaths and one tribesman was wounded.
Apparently, Al Saida tribe did not forget this incident and has been planning for some time to attack the other tribe and cause maximum causalities.
Tribal sources from the region said that Al Saida tribe had set up an ambush killing 2 tribesmen from Al-Maraziq tribe. Al Saida tribesmen waited for Al-Maraziq tribe's convey to reach the 19th Security Division road checkpoint and then seized the opportunity by ambushing them with automatic gunfire resulting in the high death toll. However, in cross fire 6 tribesmen from Al-Murazeeq tribe and 22 from Al Saida were killed as well.

Mediation succeeds
Later on, mediators stepped up their efforts to ease the situation. Eventually, the Peace House Social Organization for fighting revenge in collaboration with the sheikhs of al-Jada'an, Dahm, Jahm, and Bani Nawf, succeeded in their mediation efforts to make the two tribes reach a fragile 38-day truce.
Sheikh Abdulwali Al-Okaimi, one of the mediators appealed to the authorities and pro-human rights organizations to help them in saving the lives of the wounded as there were neither sufficient financial resources nor medical facilities in the area. Therefore, the wounded seemed to be in critical conditions, which could possibly result n the increase of fatalities.
According to Al-Okaimi, the wounded were transferred to local hospitals, which were not well equipped to save the wounded tribesmen's lives. He added that the cost of treatment of the wounded might exceed YR 20 million.

Security forces helpless
The two tribes had disputes among them but mature sheikhs in the two tribes agreed that a lot of lives would have been saved if security forces had took over the situation.
A sheikh of one of the tribes in the region said, “the soldiers who were present at the scene showed no response to prevent the tribesmen from shooting one another. If the government is unable to settle or intervene in such quarrels, who will?”
No official sources were available to comment on the incident and the presence of authorities in the region is helpless.
However, the incident took place in a time the government has been pledging to do all the necessary measures to fight the phenomenon of revenge among tribes in response to directives of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who visited the governorate of Mareb several months ago and commented on this issue specifically.