PNUP Pushes Female Members in LCE [Archives:2001/03/Reportage]

January 15 2001

Last week we talked about the political participation of women in the Local Council Elections, not only as participants in electing but also as nominees as well.
It was discovered that there were no female candidates in the elections except for Radhiya Shemshir.
Even though there was another candidate nominated from Lahj, but she was eventually removed because of some dispute.
Mr. Attas Chairman of the Spreme Elections Committee (SEC) confirmed that it is dependadnt on the parties to send Female nominees for the Local Council Elections.
As a follow-up to last weeks story covering womens participation in the elections as candidates, we continued to get the opinion of the largest political parties, and we started with Nasserite Unionist Party.
Mr. Abdul Malik Al Mikhlafi, General Secretary of the Peoples Nasserite Unionist Party (PNUP) explained to the Yemen Times that the Party is going to present a number of female nominees for the Local Council Elections coming soon. And that in order to support womens participation in political issues and womens development in Yemen Generally.
He also confirmed that the Central Committee approved participation of women in the Local Council Elections and appointed the Secretary General to present a number of female nominees in their list.
A woman had been elected in the seventh round in the general secretrate, which is considered the highest committee in the organization.
The number of nominees and where they are standing in the governarates and cities will be declared once the final arrangements which guarantee their success are accomplished.
The WNC again took lead in this matter in order to push forward women to participate in all political domains and the decision making positions.
Mrs. Horyah Mashoor, Vice Chairperson of the WNC met with Mr. Abdul Malik Al Mikhlafi, General Secretary of the Peoples Nasserite Unionist Party on Tuesday January 8th. During the meeting that was attended by Mrs. Rana Ahmad Ghanem, member of the General Secretariat and the PNUP representative in the WNC, Al-Mikhlafi
tressed the importance of womens issues and their participation in development highlighting the great chance his party gives to women to hold important positions. He added that the party would push women to participate in the forthcoming local elections.
In response to a question about absence of women in the Supervisory Committees he said that the memorandum of the SEC prescribed about chairpersons and members of those committees in a male-like manner. In addition, chairpersons and members will be transferred to different areas and women, for obvious reasons, would have more difficulties thereof.
At the end of the meeting he urged the WNC to motivate and support women to nominate themselves indicating his willingness to support participation of women through Al-Wahdawi, mouthpiece of the party.

A Comprehensive Report on the Mosque Massacre
Living the Horror of the Amran Mosque Massacre
By Hassan Al-Zayidi
[email protected]

It was Thursday morning when I heard the news of an armed clash resulting in the death of two tribesmen in Amran. I initially thought that this might be a revenge incident, one of many that happen every month in many tribal regions in Yemen. As I tried to look for more accurate information, I was bombarded with conflicting reports stating that the incident was about a dispute in the candidacy of some individuals for the upcoming National Council Elections. Other reports said that the gunfire was from one side and was of no political motives.
However, just around noon, I was called by the Chief Editor, who assigned to me the duty of taking a photographer from the newspapers office and heading for the area where the incident took place. I was enthusiastic and excited to know exactly what happened to satisfy the hunger for accurate and true information with a journalist spirit.
I hired a car and drove for around one hour until I arrived to the site of the incident at the Imam Al-Hadi Mosque, Yanour / Bani Jubar Village – Dhibeyn province in the governorate of Amran, which is around 90 kms to the north of Sana’a. Arriving to the exact destination was not at all an easy task. I asked the taxi driver whether he knew the location of the village, he replied with we will ask! Once we arrived to Reida, the village famous for its Yemeni Jews community. We asked a Yemeni Jew about the location of the village, and he was kind enough to describe to us the right route to arrive to the Yanour village in Bani Jubar.
Just as we arrived close enough to the village, we witnessed some unusual movement of people towards one common destination. They all were walking towards the Al-Hadi mosque, so we parked the car and I decided to continue on foot towards the mosque (named the mosque of death by some villagers) along with the other villagers.
What I saw there was amazing. There were thousands of tribesmen gathered around the mosque, where the terrorist incident took place. Interestingly, I noticed little presence of police or army forces. I walked through the crowd to get closer to the mosques entrance. There were people condoling with the families of the victims, who were shocked and in total despair, as they have never imagined that their relatives would be massacred in the heart of Allahs house (mosque).
I was curious to know what happened, so I asked some men who were standing at the door some simple questions like, what happened?, why are these people gathering here?, etc. What I got as a reply was also somewhat simple, They were shot while praying in the mosque yesterday night!
As I went inside the mosque, I was amazed at the number of bullets on the ground and bloodstains all over the place. The bullet marks were evident on the steel door, on the walls, and on the white pillars of the mosque. From one look at the overall interior of the mosque I understood that hell must have broken loose in this small -around 400 sq. m in area- mosque. As I continued to inspect the mosque, I saw some human remains, which made me feel sick and disgusted. I could not imagine how this could happen in this holy place? I took pictures too disturbing for publication.
The look at some of the tribesmens faces was full of fear and horror. I could easily imagine how it felt to feel being showered with bullets from your back while you are worshipping God at the mosque with total devoutness and reverence. I did understand what they went through, but I still wanted to know more about what exactly happened.
I asked a group of men who seemed to be from the village of who would be helpful in providing me with accurate information about what happened. They directed me to the son of the Imam of the mosque, Salman Ahmed Saleh Jahlan, who was among the worshippers when all of this happened, and who was miraculously saved by one of the pillars of the mosque that served him as a shield from the shower of bullets. Little teenage kid Salman was shaking and too frightened to even recall the details of the horrible incident. As the men around me encouraged him to speak up, he started explaining, Due to the cold weather at the time, the mosques door was closed but not locked when we started our Isha prayer at around 8:00 pm. He continued with a shaky voice, Once we started our second rakaa during the prayer with total devoutness and the feeling of security, we suddenly heard extremely loud sounds of a machine-gun firing at us from the back (near the door). I saw with my naked eyes glowing bullets penetrating the steel door from outside hitting the walls and chests and backs of worshippers, and loads of blood spilling on the floor. I, along with many of the men, took cover from the deadly bullets by hiding behind the pillars and laying down. I am amazed how I survived with no injuries at all. I can remember exactly how it all happened. I was lucky as I was in the fourth row at the far right. I was able to escape death, while others were not as fortunate as me. We could only see clouds of dust and sparks of bullets hitting the walls, pillars, and bodies. I saw everyone in total panic, and for a moment I thought it was a dream. Just as the sound vanished and dusts cleared, I noticed blood coming out of wounds on the bodies of the worshippers. I hoped it would have been a dream, but I saw my father lying on the ground in front of me, with blood all over his head. I called him as loud as possible and worried much about him. I cried, Father.., but he didnt respond. He was only one of tens of injured men. I was not sure who died and who didnt until today. I could only remember the man who had his arm cut of while trying to escape the shower of bullets The poor boy stopped here and couldnt continue thinking of his father, who is also the Imam of the Mosque. 
The men around us comforted the boy saying that his father was alive but in a coma in the Military Hospital in Sana’a.
The group of men that we started the chat with continued by mentioning that four men were killed instantly in the gun shooting, and more than 17 were injured, seven of them in serious condition. The three killed were named to me to be:
-Hadi Bin Saleh Al-Zaali, 30
-Mahdi Ali Ismail, 50
-Hilal Yahya Al-Zaali, 13
All of the injured were immediately rushed to the Military Hospital in Sanaa and the Amran Hospital.
I continued to ask about the incident, and had a young man answer, We were sajidin, when the incident happened, the door was closed due to the cold whether, but we suddenly heard the sound of shooting and we saw blood flowing everywhere. We had to lie on the floor, some of us escaped to the right side of the mosque. We saw death in front of us, and realized that we could die any moment, especially that the shooter continued to fire with his machine-gun for a long time. All the men praying were terrified. Whoever survived the shooting helped carry the injured.
No one knew who was shooting and why he did what he did because he was shooting from behind the steel door.
We asked the villagers who were surrounding the site where the incident took place about any suspects, and they said there was a person who was not residing in the village at the time of the incident, but who may have come just to commit his ugly crime. He is Jubran Musaid Ash-shami, who is a person of bad morals and who is not welcomed by the villagers for his black record of theft and crime, and that he may be the person behind this incident.
We also asked one of the people in charge of the area about this person and he said that nothing was confirmed, and investigations have already started to know exactly who that person was. Even though the villagers were surrounding the area, no one was able to find him.
When I tried to get more information about the suspect, Jubran, villager Mohamed Saleh Al-Dairi responded by saying that Jubran Musaid Ash-shami, 20 is the culprit, who has been known for his black record of theft and bad behavior. We do not know what his aim of the crime was, and who -if there are any- are his partners he added.
All the three martyrs who died in this horrible act were buried on the morning of the next day. Condolers filled the living rooms and houses of the relatives of the dead. It was quite refreshing for me to know that people from neighboring villages came in support of the families of the dead and injured and paid their condolences just as they were from the same village.
As a tribal norm, villagers from Dhibeyn provided 35 rifle to the relatives of the victims as a way to say, Please do not take revenge, and let law take its place. This is our guarantee that you will be justified.
I then went on to ask the father of the Imam of the mosque, Saleh Mosleh Jahlan, who was also injured with a bullet in his leg, about whether there were any internal disputes, either religious, political, social, etc.. He replied, There were no disputes among our villagers in any way. I said this before and say it again, our tribe is one tribe, our village is one village, and we are united in all aspects. There are no religious differences, as we all belong to the Zaidiah sector. My son even used to teach Quran after the Ishaa prayer everyday to the villages community.
I was surprised to see that the tribesmen were faster than the security forces in identifying the culprit, and where he might be, and captured him.
The villagers were in shock and agony that this happened in one of the villages mosques. It was not only a mosque, but also a center for teaching the Holy Quran, taught by the Imam of the mosque, Ahmed Saleh Jahlan.
The villagers who talked to me that day confirmed to me that the murderer was not mad or insane. He was a normal individual with a horrible record of crimes and thefts. But despite his terrible reputation, no one imagined that he would commit a crime so outrageous. One of the villagers said that Jubran once said that he wanted to travel all the world. What does that have to do with his terrorist act? What was more amazing was the fact that among the worshippers at the time of the incident were the culprits brothers and father. Is it possible that he went out of his mind at that particular time? Is he so evil that he would want to kill his brothers and father in the house of Allah?
From my personal observations of the place where Jubran shot at the worshippers, I realized that most of the bullets hit the pillars, which served as shields, hence saving tens of lives. This is what made some of the worshippers cry and pray thanking God for saving them from certain death.
After a long three hour stay at the village, and after taking all the pictures needed to show how horrifying this act was, I drove back to Sanaa thinking of how in earth will I ever start to write this report. I could not find answers to many questions, such as, Why would a person try to commit such a horrible act of targeting worshippers at a mosque, which is considered the holiest places for Muslims? Had he ever thought of the consequences of his acts?
As a follow-up to my report, I went back on Saturday to the village and tried to interview security officials investigation the case. But as usual, they were to hesitant to give any statements, with the same old sentence, we cannot give information as we are still investigating the case.
In an extra effort, I contacted the closest people to the suspect and was told that he was a normal student until the preparatory classes, which he discontinued. Later he worked in one of the companies in Sanaa. He used to stay away from the village and would return back to stay Thursdays and Fridays. He used to say that in the year 2000, he would be touring the whole world, as he was a person of humour most of the time. I continued searching for information about his past, and was taken to his home where I was able to find an old photo of his when he was in his early childhood.
Just when I thought I knew all I could know about him, I was surprised to hear some of the villagers saying that Jubran actually attempted to commit his massacre during the Eid prayer, but fortunately that day, he was late for the prayer, and missed the chance to kill as many people as possible, so he decided to postpone it until last Wednesday.
I would like to end this report by thanking all the villagers who assisted me in my report. But at the same time, I cannot but pay my condolences to the village, which keep the memory of this horrible incident for years to come. But there is some bad news that I learned later, just before I submitted my report for publication.
I learned that little Salmans father, the Imam of the Mosque of Death, died a few hours before I completed my report. The death toll has risen to 4 now, and there is a possibility of it rising further. It may be a shock to the little boy that suffered from one of his worst nightmares turning to a reality. I just hope that he could recover soon. Lets pray for him to recover and for his father to be awarded the heavens.