Al-Kadan locals warn of civil war [Archives:2007/1022/Reportage]

February 5 2007

Nahlah Al-Qadasi
For Yemen Times

Locals from Al-Kadan area in Hodeidah governorate are worried about their lives because the security situation there has worsened. They accuse security men of corruption and extortion. The Yemen Times met with some locals in the area and reported on their cases.

Amin Al-Mabari: “I have a motorbike, which is my living source for my family. As I was returning home on Jan. 13 this year, I came across a policeman, who impolitely asked me to give him a ride to the security department premises. I apologized because I had to bring food to my sick child, but he insisted on me giving him a ride and pointed his gun in my face. He beat my back with his gun and others couldn't stop him.

“I had totally forgotten about the matter, but the other day, he came to my house with two of his friends. They wanted to harass me again, but I managed to take refuge in the nearest electronics shop. They caught me and began beating me. I ran away again, damaging or losing an estimated YR 70,000 worth of electronics in the process.

“I'm now a fugitive and unable to return home because this policeman publicly threatened to kill me. I learned that he searches for me at night and asks his friends to inform him of my return. Actually, I'm very worried and I don't know how long I'll have to remain outside of my home.”

Prominent Al-Kadan social figure Sheikh Yahya Hashim says the area's security situation is very bad because there's neither security nor law. Additionally, those representing the law mainly are concerned with extorting people and accusing them wrongfully.

“If any citizen files a complaint, police officials jail both him and the accused and they are released only when they pay money. Almost everyone here is poor and hardly can provide a living for their families,” he added.

According to Hashim, Security Department head Abdul-Hamid Al-Shuleif is available, but only very rarely, thus giving police a chance to make trouble in the area. Hashim said when he telephoned him about the problem, Al-Shuleif replied by saying, “You [locals] have provoked the soldiers.”

“Is it reasonable that the security official encourages the soldiers to extort citizens? Where's the true role of security men and their symbol? Has their symbol become to extort people?” Hashim wondered.

Hashim affirmed that area locals are worried about the deteriorated situation as corruption has increased remarkably. He noted that Al-Mabari's case has been sent to the governor of Hodeidah governorate, Brig. Gen. Mohammed Saleh Shamlan, who in turn directed the governorate's head of security, Nasser Al-Tuhaif, to form a committee to look into the case.

“Unfortunately, Al-Tuhaif still is procrastinating on the case. He asked me to bring Al-Mabari and I promised to bring him in if he's charged with any crime. What's important is to form a committee as the governor directed,” Hashim noted, adding that Al-Tuhaif's last response was, “Why do you want to run the state [Yemen] according to your own will?”

“Until now, no committee has been formed,” Hashim concluded, “Those responsible for the law can't apply it and because this is the case, we aren't responsible for anything that might result as a consequence. People no longer can stand the situation. We're warning of guerrilla warfare if the committee isn't formed, but we don't want that to happen because the government will call us terrorists.”

Ahmed Mohammed Sa'eed: “A month ago, policemen asked my son to testify in a case in which he wasn't involved. My son refused, saying he didn't know anything and wouldn't testify about something he didn't know about. Thus, he was imprisoned and beaten harshly. He was blindfolded, forced to mark his fingerprint on papers and then freed.”

Adel Ahmed Ibrahim: “One day, I sprayed some water in front of my shop and the adjacent shop, with whose owner I had disputes. He was upset with my action and complained to police. He returned with a policeman to take me to the police station. I asked them to show me a summons, but because they had none, I refused to accompany them. Therefore, they hit me and forcibly brought me to the police station.

“The adjacent shop owner waived the case because he thought it would be a big problem. However, I wasn't released and remained in prison for one more day. Police officials asked me to pay some money for my release, but I refused. However, my father couldn't stand my ordeal in jail, so he paid them some money.”

Ahmed Omar Rajeh: “I was building my house and I wanted to dig a canal for sewage, but when the sewage canal was finished, my neighbor destroyed it. I filed a complaint and he committed not to repeat the act. When he did it again, I complained to the police, but the officials demanded some money to bring in my neighbor. I couldn't continue building the house as I awaited a solution to my problem because I lost confidence in the police.”

Abdullah Othman Melhan: “My son and other two young men were accused of stealing some carpets and tables from the house of a man who recently came from Saudi Arabia and were jailed without any evidence. The homeowner waived his claim, but police officials refused to release them until they paid YR 7,000 each.”

Ahmed Hassan Badr: “I once captured a thief at my house and tied him with rope until I returned from the police station with some soldiers. They took him. I couldn't go to the police station for two days because I was very busy. I went on the third day, but the police imprisoned me, justifying it by saying that I didn't follow up the case. They told me that if I wanted to be released, I had to pay some money, which I had to do.”