Elections spark violence [Archives:2006/976/Front Page]

August 28 2006

SANA'A, Aug. 27 ) Security authorities have stated that six individuals have been detained and investigations are ongoing to uncover details of last Thursday's deadly incident in Al-Hazim city, capital of Al-Jawf governorate northeast of Sana'a.

Sources recounted that General People's Congress (GPC) candidate Mohammed Ali Al-Dhamen, accompanied by eight militants, went to see Musleh Shereyan, director of the Supreme Commission for Elections and Referendum (SCER) supervisory committee, at around 9 p.m. last Thursday at his office in the government complex to request changing his local council election nomination from the district level of Al-Zahir district to the governorate level.

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The dispute followed another between the two men wherein Shereyan refused to hang President Saleh's picture on the SCER office wall.

Because the deadline for accepting nominations was past, Shereyan denied Al-Dhamen's change request, resulting in a verbal dispute followed by Al-Dhamen firing a gunshot, which killed Shereyan.

The murder was followed by Al-Jawf's SCER financial manager shooting back and killing Al-Dhamen, after which a heavy exchange of fire between Al-Dhamen's militant guards and SCER personnel and security injured six personnel, including two directors of the original committees of two Al-Jawf districts who were in the SCER office at the time of the shooting.

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More than 200 armed Shereyan tribesmen surrounded the government complex, requesting Shereyan's murderers be handed over. However, tribal sources claim security interference allowed the murderers to escape and hide under protection of the governor and the chief of police, who are affiliated with the GPC.

A Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) statement alleged that there was a conspiracy against their member Shereyan by facilitating the entry of armed militants into the government complex with the intention of killing Shereyan.

The JMP also demanded information about the police investigation; however, they haven't received any response from the government except for SCER regret at Shereyan's murder.

Shereyan's tribe has objected to the investigation because it's headed by the governor and the chief of police, whom they accuse of being part of the conspiracy against Shereyan, especially as three of the six detained are Shereyan's personal guards. They demanded forming a neutral and independent investigation committee in order to accept the investigation results and, in turn, withdraw their armed tribesmen from Al-Hazim city.

The European Union Election Observation Mission (EUEOM) also condemned the violence in Al-Jawf and urged all parties to allow the SCER and its affiliate branches to fulfill their duties without fear, intimidation or violence from any official, party or candidate.