Tribesmen Attack Gas Tankers [Archives:2001/19/Front Page]

May 7 2001


Tribesmen’s attacks on gas tankers in the past few weeks have halted gas tanker movements from Safer to many Yemeni areas. Gas tankers are estimated to be 300 on a daily basis.
On the other hand, Al Ali bin Felah Tribe is still holding a gas tanker from two weeks ago. It is said that it belonged to a important man in the authority. The tribe is said to have taken it to a mountainous area called al-Daiq valley where groups of the tribe concentrate.
Sheikh Ahmad Saleh Huzaim heading these tribal groups made a statement to YT which visited the area and said “Our requests to the authorities concerned are to employ 200 soldiers from the tribe in the military forces; employ those qualified tribesmen in oil and gas companies; treating sheikhs of the tribe as other sheikhs of Yemen; granting the area its share of oil revenues. We attack tankers and military camps to exercise pressure on the authorities concerned to comply to our demands. We have applied all peaceful and legal ways.
However, nothing came through. We will exercise stronger means of pressure if our demands are neglected. We are not bandits. The real bandits are those who steal the wealth of a governorate while its citizens are starving.”
Ten military vehicles under the leadership of the 25 Mec. Brigade stationed in the area attempted to break into the area. However, they exchanged fire with tribesmen and pulled back.
Efforts exerted by the Mareb governor in collaboration with some sheikhs to stop tribal groups from attacking tankers and recovering the seized tanker have all fell through. In 1977, tribesmen blocked the Mareb-Sana’a road which increased gas prices to YR 700 per bottle. It has also claimed 52 lives from the military forces while escorting tankers. Incidents have also claimed seven lives from the tribesmen.
On the other hand, confrontations triggered last Wednesday between al-Juda’an tribe, 70 km away from Mareb governorate and located on Sana’a-Mareb road, and security forces resulted in two injuries. Reasons for these confrontations are still unknown so far.