Tragi-comedy after the incident that is said to be caused by GAS LEAKAGE? [Archives:1999/36/Business & Economy]

September 6 1999

According to official sources, the catastrophe of the City Center Supermarket that occurred on the 28th of last month, resulted from a gas leakage. The gas leakage lead to the spread of gas air into the whole supermarket and was ignited, leading to the explosion of the supermarket. As sources claim, the experts were not able to find any evidence of TNT explosives or remains of a car bomb. They suggest that the explosion was mainly due to the explosion of the gas cylinders which were used in the kitchen of the “City Center Restaurant”. 
About the victims of the incident, reports were contradictory to each other. In the last issue of Yemen Times, depending on the Canadian News agency, we mentioned that the blast killed three, including the Canadian Occidental guardsman, Al-Samawi. However, we have received news that the guard is still alive, however he is in a coma because his brain was damaged, and whether he will live is yet unknown. One of the relatives of the guard mentioned that the he is going through a critical time, and that an operation to his brain took place last week in Azal Private Hospital. 
The -at least 5- Indian employees who were in the basement of the supermarket, and who were thought to have died, have miraculously survived the huge blast. The Indian embassy however is deeply concerned about them because the police is still interrogating them after more than a week after the blast. “We are disappointed that they are still under interrogation. We want to have them released as soon as possible” said a diplomat at the Indian Embassy. This gives the impression that the police is trying to know why and how they have survived the blast. 
On another level, there were some tragicomic incidents happening immediately after the explosion. As one witness states, “In the early morning after the blast, while I was heading home, I passed near the site of the explosion. After the fire was turned off by the firemen, I saw a soldier carrying something on his shoulder and walking away from the site. When I went closer to see what he was carrying, I began thinking, ‘can it be an explosive or some kind of machine that helps in the investigation? Later I discovered that a box of coke was all that survived the blast. He was carrying it away, just to have some free drinks with his other companions. These are our soldiers. This is our army!” 
Later in the day of the explosion, we went to see what damage the explosion caused to the building where the Emirates office was. We went upstairs to the NDI (National Democratic Institute) office, to be surprised that the door was broken. We asked the guard, he said that the soldiers broke into some offices and probably this office is one of them. They had the excuse of looking after the criminals who were linked to the explosion and who might have escaped and hid in one of the apartments. ” When going inside, we discovered that the armed troops stole three of the companies mobile phones and ran away. 
On the same level, the markets near the incidents were surprised to see that many of their goods were stolen -probably by the armed troops,because the explosion destroyed the gate and glasses of the market. They asked themselves ,”if these are the ones that are supposed to protect us, how on earth will the robbers be”? 
A question even we wouldn’t want to answer!