Waella tribes accuse government of yielding territory [Archives:2006/956/Front Page]

June 19 2006

SA'ADA, June 18 – Yemeni Waella tribes in Sa'ada accused Yemen's government of relinquishing more Yemeni territories not included in a border treaty signed with Saudi Arabia.

In a statement di~stributed Saturday, a copy of which the Yemen Times received, the tribes said the German firm entrusted with fixing border markings violated the agreement between Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Instead of fixing the markings on Thaar Mountain, known to be the main dividing area between Yemen and Saudi Arabia, the German company placed them eight kilometers inside Yemeni territory.

The tribes' statement also claimed that Saudi Arabia has seized Yemeni areas of Sillah, Qafrat Sillah and Hibash, as well as other Waella tribal territories.

The statement mentioned that the tribes are awaiting President Ali Abdullah Saleh's fulfillment of his promise to keep all possession of Waella tribal territories and properties unchanged, even if such lands fall within the new international border between the two countries.

Concluding their statement, the tribes emphasized that they do not recognize the border treaty, affirming, “The Waella do not recognize the treaty, nor does it concern them,” adding that they strongly refuse the principle of compensation and dividing the land or the tribes.

They warned all concerned parties in Yemen and Saudi Arabia against bargaining or playing down the tribes' seriousness and their insistence on demanding their rights to lands inherited from their forefathers, as well as their determination to retrieve their territories, however long it takes or whatever sacrifices.

The Yemen Times contacted the technical borders office affiliated with the president's office to verify the truthfulness of the tribes' claims. An official refusing to identify himself said that what the tribal statement mentioned wasn't responsible information and that his office would conduct an investigation and send its reply later.

The official wondered why the Waella tribes hadn't mentioned these issues at the time of border demarcation; rather, choosing this time to declare their refusal of it, especially after the demarcation process has been completed and the two countries have exchanged documents.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Shagie, chieftain of the Waella tribal sheikhs, who died in a mysterious accident was one of the strongest opponents of border demarcation with Saudi Arabia across Waella lands. The German firm couldn't cross Waella territory while he was alive.