After arresting their sheikhs and escorts:Jahm tribesmen on the run [Archives:2003/657/Front Page]

August 7 2003

Sana'a, August 6 – Security forces are continuing their chase of members of the Jahm tribe of Mareb. The chase started following an exchange of fire that occurred near the Presidential complex on the 60-meter street last Sunday August 1.
Around twenty sheikhs from Jahm tribe have been held by security forces since Sunday after being called by President Ali Abdullah Saleh for an important meeting.
In a statement to Yemen Times, Jahm tribal sources said that the sheikhs are currently held at a prison in Sana'a after a dispute erupted between them and the president.
One of the escorts, Yahya Nasser Al-Zaidi, who accompanied the sheikhs to Sana'a to attend the meeting with the President was killed. According to tribal sources, Al-Zaidi was killed after he attempted escape being arrested by security forces. Meanwhile, another escort, Hashed Faisal Al-Zaidi is still receiving medical care at the Police Hospital.
All the other escorts and drivers, around 20, were later arrested and sent to the Central Prison of Sana'a.
A source of the Ministry of Interior had told Saba News Agency that security forces were ordered to arrest a number of armed individuals belonging to Al-Zaidi tribe at the Southern 60-meter street.
Upon arrival of police vehicles at the scene, the tribesmen started firing at the police forces, resulting in an exchange of fire that led to the killing of one escort and injuring of another.
Meanwhile, a tribal source from Jahm tribe denied the official report saying that the armed tribesmen came to Sanaa to request the release of their tribe's sheikhs, who went to the President upon his request to discuss the possibilities of ending the case of Sheikh Saleh Obad Al-Zaidi, who was killed in April 2003 when police forces intercepted his car in Sanaa.
Jahm sheikhs had met with the president on Sunday and demanded the trial of Obad's killers, who are believed to belong to the police or security forces. Sheikhs complained that the state has started applying extremely harsh measures against the tribes whenever a dispute erupts between the two.
In the meantime, observers believe that the state is starting to focus more on enforcing the law in remote tribal areas, especially in a time the government is exerting extensive efforts against terrorists, who sometimes use tribes as refuge.
Another signal of the government's intention to limit tribal influence in state affairs is the campaign to disarm various areas by purchasing light arms from the markets, a measure which is expected to reduce the number of light weapons -currently estimated at 60 million pieces- tremendously.

Journalist's brother arrested
Meanwhile security forces arrested on Tuesday the 14-year-old brother of journalist Hassan Al-Zaidi, while leaving his house to run an errand in the neighborhood.
According to Hassan Al-Zaidi, security forces took his brother Mohammed as hostage from Al Zaidi tribe following the incident that took place on Sunday. “His arrest is against the law and he should be set free.” Al-Zaidi said.
“Mohammed has done nothing to be arrested. I believe the era of hostages has gone, and no one should be victimized because of a dispute between our tribe and the state.”
“I hope the Minister of Interior would consider releasing him swiftly for humanitarian reasons, especially as the arrest was illegal from the start.” he concluded.