As Clashes Between Military Forces And Gahm Continue: Further Violence Expected [Archives:2000/29/Local News]

July 17 2000

Four people were killed and eight badly injured during the clashes between units of the 25 mechanized brigade stationed in Sirwah and Gahm tribesmen which erupted two weeks ago. The area-bombing resulted in serious damage to houses and roads.
Clashes were triggered when units of the brigade bombed one of Al-Zaidy tribes following the release of the 6 republican guards kidnapped by the tribe.
It is said that this military action was the first of its kind since 1988. A number of similar encounters have taken place in the same area over the past 12 years. However, none resulted in such extensive damage. People fled the area to caves in mountains deeply scared about the explosive situation in the area.
People in the neighborhood expect a strong retaliation by the Gahm tribes comprising: Aal Toaiman, Aal Ali Ben Falah and Aal Duhairej. The last includes: Aal Al-Zaidy, Aal Rabea, Assawalehah, Annwasirah and Al-Awamirah.
About 10 encounters between military forces and tribesmen have taken place in Sirwah since 1988, killing or wounding many people from the two sides. In addition, the area witnessed 9 kidnapping incidents and 12 oil pipe-lines explosions. All this pushed the government to deploy brigades and military units in the area and the mountains surrounding it. However, this has failed to put an end to the kidnapping incidents and acts of sabotage carried by inhabitants of the area to force the government to meet their demands.
Oddly enough, the government usually suspects some Sheikhs who are financially supported by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to be responsible for such acts, despite the fact that those Sheikhs enjoy good relations with the Yemeni government and the President himself. Such relations are belived to be exploited by Sheikhs to achieve personal ends creating a kind of insurrection among tribesmen.
The Sirwah problem is an offshoot of simple internal problems that can easily be addressed. However, those Sheikhs have failed to find comprehensive and fair solutions to their people’s problems.
Many tribesmen think that the latest military operations against people will breed other violent confrontations between military forces and tribesmen. Sheikhs are no more able to control tribesmen or to solve their problems. At the same time, the government can not trace the errant tribesmen.
The government should direct its attention to bring to book the corrupt officials and Sheikhs instead of bombing people’s houses. It also should provide services projects for the undeveloped areas, solve people’s long-standing problems and let justice prevail. Only then can we stand against anti-social forces.