Yemen and Somalia share insecurity [Archives:2008/1149/Opinion]

April 24 2008

By: Mosa Al-Namrani
Three consecutive blasts hit a public girls' school based in Sana'a near the U.S. Embassy, believed to have been the potential target, and such an event was followed by a huge fire destroying a tourist hotel downtown but the perpetrators have not been identified.

The authorities claim that the fire was caused by a rehearsal aircraft that broke the sound barrier while hovering over Sana'a, but such an official statement was denied by military experts. Other blasts targeted a foreign residential compound in the Hadda area, occupied by foreign experts working for the American Hunt Oil Company, which filed a lawsuit against Yemeni government to a French court last year after the government failed to fulfill its obligations to the company.

The northern province of Sa'ada has been suffering bloody confrontations between Houthi supporters and army personnel, backed by pro-government tribesmen since June 2004. In the south part of the country, dozens of political leaders and human rights activists have been detained over riots and vandalistic acts that swept major cities in the south. Leaders of angry protests are exchanging accusations with intelligence agents over the security turmoil in the southern governorates.

Official sources were quoted as saying that at least a security soldier was killed and another seven injured in an attack on a checkpoint on one of the highways leading to Hadhramout. The sources doesn't rule out that the assault was launched by terrorist groups while others attributed it to quarrels over drug trafficking.

The Political Security Organization kidnapped popular artist Fahd Al-Qarni and took him to an anonymous place in a manner, which attorneys described as 'illegal'. In the meantime, Yemeni Information Minister issued a decision disbanding the independent Al-Wasat weekly, which was assessed by Yemeni Journalists Syndicate as a flagrant violation against press freedom while the minister insisted that the paper deserves to be closed.

Oppressed citizens from Ibb's Ja'ashin district, who were evicted by a powerful sheikh from their villages, still sleep outdoor in one of Sana'a areas overnight without any blankets. Do pictures of Mr. President and his party's slogan protect them from the hot sun during daytime? Parliament directed the relevant authorities to investigate the case. But as these authorities did not respond to Parliament's directions, Ja'ashin women deserted their homes and joined their husbands and relatives camping in Sana'a in search of justice.

Until the time of writing this article, many construction engineers are still held captive in Khawlan area, east of Sana'a, while their kidnappers listed numerous demands for the government to meet. The country's interior ministry is negotiating with these kidnappers via mediators in an attempt to release the abductees.

All such events are the outcome of less than two weeks of Yemen's age, and therefore terrify those concerned about Yemen's dire situation that continues to worsen. Although the turmoil is very obvious, the government claims that there is security and stability in its territory. During its meeting with western officials, Yemen's Justice Minister declared that there are neither political detainees nor opinion prisoners in his country. A quick glance at the current situation nationwide persuades one to believe that Yemen and Somalia share the same security turmoil.