We are not terrorists, Ma’rib locals say [Archives:2007/1102/Local News]

November 12 2007

Saddam Al-Ashmouri
For The Yemen Times

MA'RIB, Nov. 11 ) Ma'rib governorate experienced many terrorist acts, including the latest bombing of oil pipes carried out last week. As a result, Yemeni authorities have taken heightened security measures by placing around 15 checkpoints on the road from Sana'a to Ma'rib.

Additionally, authorities took precautionary measures such as guarding foreign tourists while the tourists ate.

Ma'rib is an important tourist attraction in Yemen, but unfortunately, tourists do not visit it nowadays.

Ma'rib spokesmen denied any accusations directed against the locals of Ma'rib.

Sheik Ali Al-Saili said, “We have nothing to do with terrorist acts. We are innocent of what terrorist elements do in terms of kidnapping, targeting and bombing. Those who attacked the Spanish tourists do not belong to Ma'rib. The authority revealed who they are. Yemeni people have formed a negative picture of Ma'rib and others have seized this opportunity to punish Ma'rib locals even to the extent of our daily lives. So, Ma'rib is described as a stronghold of terrorists while we have nothing to do with terrorism.”

He went on to say that “everybody knows our tribal traditions and customs. We stand up for the poor and support the oppressed. Those who violate our traditions and customs are outcasts. If there are any violators and saboteurs, it does not mean that we are so.”

Aref Al-Zooka, the governor of Ma'rib, denied that Ma'rib locals are connected with bombings in the area, saying that Ma'rib locals do not resemble the stereotype formed about the governorate, described as a stronghold of terrorists including Al-Qaeda elements. This came in a scientific seminar staged by the Ma'rib Press web site under the theme of “Terrorism and its impacts on society and development”.

Moreover, Al-Zooka mentioned the last bombing targeting the oil pipes, confidently affirming, “Those of us in the region will continue confronting any bombings. They will not terrify us. We will stand and not be shaken. The blood of the Spanish tourists hasn't dried yet. This act of terrorism does not belong to our peaceful religion, nor to the traditions and tribal principles in Ma'rib.”

Ma'rib's security director stated that the terrorist acts do not represent the nature of Ma'rib locals, adding that “on the contrary, we find Ma'rib's locals cooperative and they all denounce these acts.”

Moreover, Abi Al-Hassan Al-Ma'ribi called on the governor and all preachers to have a united speech, entitled “Terror is targeting our interests and interests of this governorate.” This is what had been mentioned by the director of the American Institute Dimitroff, who said that terrorism has a long term impact, delaying development and demolishing civil society. It also creates random actions that disable development to achieve any progress, he added, saying, “It is easy to face risks of terrorism by reinforcing security forces to avoid any terrorist actions. Yet it is difficult to combat its impact in the long term.”

Dimitroff further said that the institute will confirm to its international partners and donors that Ma'rib's locals had discussed all issues regarding fighting the phenomenon of terror. “I confirm our commitment to work together until Ma'rib becomes an oasis of peace and security in the future,” he concluded.