Office of Endowments to seize cemetery in Aden [Archives:2006/954/Local News]

June 12 2006

ADEN, June 10 ) Many areas in Aden on Saturday were the scene of protests)sometimes approaching riots)in the wake of an attempt by a government official to seize a cemetery in order to break-up the land and sell it as various private plots.

Sources in Aden, who wish to remain unidentified, said that residents in the districts of Al-Shaab, Al-Hassawa, Abu-Harba, and other nearby areas took to the streets in a demonstration that blocked the road to the area and burned old tires in the wake of Fahd Abdulaziz's)director of the Office of Endowments in Aden)attempt to forcefully enter a cemetery in order to sell off the land.

Residents say that the seizure was an attempt by a 'land Mafia' to switch the status of the land to private ownership. Knowing what was brewing, citizens tried to prevent seizure of the land by building a wall around the cemetery's perimeter some months ago. Yet, their work was partially destroyed by unknown hoodlums who pulled down parts of the wall. Currently, the prosecutor's office is still conducting investigations into that act of vandalism.

One of the area's residents, A'rif Al-Halimi told the that the commander of the security sector of Buraiqa and the chief of police of the Al-Shaab district told local residents who were protesting that orders existed preventing the exploitation of the cemetery's land.

Al-Halimi, a lawyer, made it clear that the Office of Endowments in Aden is in the vanguard of those attempting to confiscate the cemetery's land. He indicated that the office has met with resentment from local residents who unanimously refuse the sale of the cemetery's land.