Tribal Warfare Hashed vs Redaa Stand-off [Archives:1999/19/Front Page]

May 10 1999

Some 250 tribesmen from Hashed and a similar number from Redaa are gathered in Hodeidah in a stand-off regarding a blood feud between them. The two sides are armed to the teeth, and are in a psychologically edgy condition leading to a potentially explosive situation. Both sides have laid siege to the Hodeidah Central Prison where Mr. Nasser Mussa Ali, from Redaa, is kept under lock and key. Yemen Times went to see him, and found him badly battered and in a physically shocking condition. He is guilty of shooting Mr. Mohammed Al-Hashedi to death at 8:30 pm on Thursday, April 29th. 
The two sides are also pressuring the security and judicial authorities to push things according to their interests and versions of the story. It is reported that very top Hashed tribal sheikhs have urged an immediate death penalty, or else. 
The Redaa tribal grouping also demand proper judicial process of law. “We want a fair and just trial. A kangaroo court will be unacceptable to us, and we will not stand by and watch them kill our man,” said Sheikh Ali Saleh A-Tayri. 
Neither group has much trust in the system. That is why both sides have mobilized a physical presence of armed men around the prison, the attorney’s office, and of course the offices of the governor, director of security, and the director of the investigations office. The authorities are in a fix. 
The problem started at around 8:00 in the evening on Thursday, April 29th, near Ras Katnib, a few kilometers north of Hodeida. It is a place for outings and picnics. 
Mr. Nasser Mussa Ali, a businessman from Redaa, parked his Mercedes car along the coast, close to another car. The driver of the previously parked 4-wheel car, Mr. Saleh Al-Hudaiki, who had women in his car, was discomforted that another car would park close by. “Move away! Drive off. You can’t park there!” 
“Why? Am I trespassing private property?” 
The two men soon exchanged harsh words leading to insults. 
The 4-wheel car driver left the scene, only to come back a short while later with 2 other cars loaded with armed tribal compatriots. They beat up Nasser Mussa Ali, breaking one arm, a couple of ribs and left him with big bruises on his face. As they started to walk away leaving him on the ground, he reached to a pistol and fired a shot, fatally injuring Mohammed Al-Hashedi, one of the group that assaulted him. Mohammed died upon arrival at the hospital. 
State officials are visibly worried by the standoff between the hashed and Redaa men in Hodeidah. A number of proposed solutions have been refused. The Redaa people have proposed a tribal solution but the hashed men refused it. They want a court verdict sentencing Nasser Mussa Ali to death. “We will not accept anything short of a death sentence,” they keep repeating to me. They see the death of Mohammed Al-Hashedi as a cold blood murder. 
The Redaa tribal grouping, already disgusted by the state’s military action against the Redaa district village of Al-Saeed a few weeks earlier, are ready for violence. They have secured lots of arms and have mobilized a lot of young men for the purpose. “It is clear that Nasser was in self-defence. These Hashed men assaulted him for no reason, and he was simply fighting back. We are willing to negotiate adequate compensation in the form of blood money. But if the state executes Nasser, it will have to account to us,” their sheikh said. 
The city of Hodeidah is gripped with tension as the armed groups move in large numbers from one place to another. The state has been helpless in reducing the tension. 
Most of the people are wondering who is going to be the judge in the case. Many judges have tried to stay clear from the case, because no matter what verdict they issue, they are bound to antagonize one of the two groups. One judge told me, “The authorities cannot protect me. I know of many judges who have been victimized by people unhappy with their verdicts.” 
The hashed people have refused to bury their dead. They insist to bury it only once the killer is executed. “We will them together,” they say. Hodeidah is not a place to be at this time. 
By: Yusuf Al-Sharif 
Yemen Times