Security officer charged with murder [Archives:2008/1135/Local News]

March 6 2008

By: Taiz Bureau
TAIZ, March 4 ) Following repeated pressure by Taizi citizens, governorate security authorities have arrested security officer Dammaj Al-Bahr for killing a citizen from Janad district and forming a group of gunmen to loot citizens' property and plunder their land. Al-Bahr is an influential individual who once headed Shara'ab Al-Salam Security Department. In a statement to the Yemen Times, Taiz Security Department head Yahya Al-Haisami stated that his department launched a military campaign comprised of several armored vehicles and dozens of police to arrest Al-Bahr, who refused to surrender, pointing out that the perpetrator fiercely resisted the security campaign and hindered police from doing their duty. Hundreds of Janad district locals, including local councilors and one member of Parliament, staged a sit-in Tuesday in front of the governorate's premises and the security department to protest against security authorities for not executing Al-Bahr. They further accused the security department of being indifferent toward Al-Bahr, who has repeatedly attacked local citizens and seized their property. Three days ago, Al-Bahr shot dead Ahmad Abdu Uthman of Janad area. The incident enraged local citizens, forcing them to protest against the security authorities, whom they allege don't perform their required duties.

The angry protestors charged some government agencies and officials with harboring the alleged murderer and encouraging him to do whatever he wants. Further, they blamed senior police officers, including Taiz Political Security Director Faisal Al-Bahr, who is related to the perpetrator, for being lenient toward him.

Uthman's murder occurred Sunday while Al-Janad Police Station Director Abdullah Abdulwahab Mughallis and many of his security personnel were on official duty in another area attempting to end clashes over a disputed plot of land. As Mughallis was on his way back to the police station, Al-Bahr's followers fired at his vehicle, deflating its tires. He and his personnel then were transported to their station in a private citizen's vehicle, noting that they did not return fire on the perpetrators. Moreover, the security official revealed that Al-Bahr and his gunmen chased him and his men, directing his followers to “Kill him! Kill him!” meaning the vehicle's driver, Ahmad Uthman, who was shot dead after he refused to stop or slow down. Following the incident, Al-Bahr and his gunmen immediately fled the scene. Sheikh Abdulhamid Al-Batra, an MP representing Constituency 56 in Taiz governorate, strongly denounced the security authorities' negligence and indifference toward the illegal acts committed by Al-Bahr and his gunmen.

“This influential individual seized citizens' lands with the full knowledge of governmental bodies. Having once served in the security department, he exploited his military rank to make illegal earnings,” Al-Batra added.

According to the victim's brother, Sheikh Mohammed Uthman, Al-Bahr's repeated assaults and arbitrary illegal acts have enraged area citizens, who now are planning to execute him themselves without communicating with the relevant government authorities.