How “City Center” Turned into Dust: As Serious As Can Get! [Archives:1999/35/Reportage]

August 30 1999

People say that they have never heard in their lives such a loud voice. The sound of the blast was clearly heard in the furthest areas from the site. People were awaken and frightened as if a missile has hit the capital. It reminded us of the ugly days of the civil war. Even then, the sound of blasts were not this strong. Something must have gone wrong in our city. What is the issue and how did it happen? What explains the other two blasts that occurred in the south? Was it a coincidence that in the same night, another small explosion in Al-Tawwahi, in Aden, and a third in Abyan’s Zinjubar town took place, even though both explosions caused no substantial damage or casualties. 
Even though there were reports saying that Abu Hamza claimed responsibility of the accident and it is again the Abyan Military Army, the truth is still unknown. It is unlikely that this is true because how can everything be managed by this army, without leaving a single clue or evidence behind them? 
It is the duty of the police to know the exact truth behind the incident. But Yemen Times, as always tried to know and deliver what is being said of the reason of the blast. The many speculations in regards to the cause of the explosion continue, yet none of them was confirmed. One of these speculations is that the owner of the market had personal problems with the shareholders in the company and that this disagreement between them might have led to committing explosion. 
Luckily, one of the workers at the City Center agreed to gave a brief statement regarding the explosion to Yemen Times on condition of anonymity, “On the night of the explosion, I left the supermarket before 12:00 am. On that night, the owner of the supermarket, who is one of the dead, was present in order to monitor the issuance of the employees’ salaries tables. The salaries of the employees were planned to be given either on Sunday or Monday. The accountant and Al-Omeiry stayed late to review the records of salaries when the blast happened. I don’t think that the explosion -if intentional- was aimed at killing people. If that intention was valid, the bombs could have been placed earlier in the day to kill as many as possible. 
However, the blast was late, and usually employees leave the market around 11:00 pm, but on that particular night they stayed there until 2:00 am -as I said- to review the reports. I have not heard of any problems between the owner and others. Everything in the market seemed to be going quite well.”Being in the diplomatic neighborhood, the effect of the explosion was felt by several significantly important buildings including the British, Turkish, and Dutch Embassies, the residence of the French Ambassador, the Canadian Occidental Petroleum Company, and the Yemen Times building. 
The authorities did not give any kind of statement regarding this incident, and ordered the lifting of all the remains of the blast and the cleaning of the area. 
It is still uncertain how the inspections on how and why the blast happened. The coming days would reveal the truth behind the incident, even though there are no ruins left in the investigation. 
As seen from those pictures, the damage was extreme, and the issue is not simple. How can we feel secure? If this explosion happens here this time, next time, where will it happen? Who guarantees that it will not be repeated? These questions are left to our officials to answer!