Obaidah Sets up Tribal Barricades [Archives:2000/13/Front Page]

March 27 2000

Obaidah tribe is still imposing a tribal barricade, 5 kms away from Ma’areb on the main road linking Ma’areb, Sana’a to Bani Hareth tribes. It is reported that this tribal barricade was erected following tribal feuds enraged between the two tribes, Bani Al-Hareth and Obaidah. These feuds were said to be the result of employing some workers and 15 cars from Obaidah tribe in Janah Hunt Oil field situated between Ma’areb and Shabwah. Bani Hareth tribes had stopped the employees and the cars belonging to Obaidah and prevented them from work under pretext that they have the priority for employment as the company is located on their lands.
On the other hand, the Juhm tribe has lifted last Saturday a tribal barricade set up by Obaidah tribe on the same highway after mediators could settle the feuds raised as a result of seizing a bus driven by a man from Juhm and belongs to Naibras Oil Company. The bus was seized a week ago by the Obaidh tribe at a pretext that the oil company has sacked 8 men from Obaidh tribe.
It is reported that nine official military check-points were set up along the 70km Sana’a-Ma’areb highway. The authority posts are reported to be set up near the barricades set up by tribesmen every now and then.
The phenomenon of tribal barricades has increased recently claiming lives of some innocent passersby. The past tribal barricades including Nuhm, Hashed, Al-Haimah, Haraz, Al-Hada’a in Dhamar, Ma’areb had resulted in so many deaths and injuries. On the other hand, such incidents create an atmosphere of fear among passersby.
Tribes resort to such measures among themselves in case of tribal conflicts such as tribal kidnappings, assaults, tribes that do not adhere to the right, etc.
However, the common tribal norms and customs do not sanction such measures except in rare cases such as killings after a reconciliation agreement and assaults that are not settled down according to the tribal norms. Tribal norms view such measures as the last measures, tribes should resort to after exhausting all other tribal means. These measures work as pressure on tribes so that they adhere to the right course of action. It is worth noting that the authority avoid interference in such cases so as not to indulge in conflicts with tribes as it was the case last January when the government tried to interfere with Nuhm tribe. Moreover, the government seems to prefer such fights among tribes so as to get them preoccupied and to weaken their power.
By: Hassan Al-Zaidy
Yemen Times