Disarming attempts of tribesmen cause fatalities [Archives:2003/665/Front Page]

September 4 2003

Sanaa, 2 September – Significant efforts are now being exerted by police and military forces in trying to disarm certain tribesmen in a number of regions near the capital Sanaa. This has led to increasing tension between tribes and the government according to reporters and observers monitoring the security conditions in the country.
In one of the recent incidents, at least two people were killed and five wounded on August 28 in a shootout between security forces and armed tribesmen near the capital Sanaa.
According to news reports, more than 100 Bani Hushish tribesmen exchanged fire with about 20 police patrol vehicles sent to disarm them as they attended a meeting at a popular market in the Al-Rawdha suburb north of Sanaa.
Eyewitnesses said that the two sides fired machine guns and automatic rifles in the battle, which lasted more than an hour. Police officials refused to comment, but they spoke of arrests of armed men in Al-Rawdha.
Efforts to disarm Yemen's armed tribesmen in various areas in the country had started many years ago but were always confronted with stiff resistance and many social obstacles. It is estimated that there are fifty million weapons scattered throughout the country but concentrated in tribal areas where government control is almost inexistent.