“When Two Tribes Go to War” [Archives:1998/15/Local News]

April 13 1998

A shoot-out took place between two groups belonging to the Hadaa and Khowlan tribes last week in Sanaa. The two groups occupied two opposite buildings, one of which is disputed by the two tribes.
For several hours on two consecutive days, the Taiz roundabout on the Sitteen Road in Sanaa became a battle field. One of the groups – Al-Ghonaimi of the Hadaa – took over the disputed office block, which is situated on the main road. Al-Soofi of Khowlan the other, two-storey higher building to better shoot at their rivals.

On the first day, the heavy exchange of fire lasted from 2pm to 8pm when a police force consisting of 30 patrols (almost 120 men) was able to control the situation and evacuate the two buildings. The warring tribesmen used light and medium firearms in the shoot-out.

The disputed 4-storey office block was leased by the Yemen Bank for Construction and Development, and jointly owned by the two erstwhile friendly families – Al-Ghonaimi and Al-Soofi. The dispute erupted when the ground floor was to be partitioned into small shops. One of the partner families refused the plan, and resorted to its larger tribe for succor. Armed groups were sent by the families two tribes into Sanaa to solve the dispute the “tribal way.”
Land disputes have become a common thing, lately. And the use of firearms to solve such disputes is even more common. The fact that the Yemeni populace possess more than 56 million pieces of firearms does not help matters, either.
Ismail Al-Ghabiri