Wandering in Yemen

Yemeni Press Round-Up 10/10/13

Fresh Clashes in Dammaj Between Houthis and Salafis:

Ceasefire broken again in Dammaj; Houthis and Salafis exchange accusations after a village is shelled.

A Salafi source told Masdar Online that Houthi gunmen had killed a young man, Hamza Al-Hajji, studying at the Salafi Dar al-Hadeeth Centre in Dammaj. Local sources told Masdar Online that the Houthis shelled al-Watan, in Dammaj, but the Houthis official website said it was ‘Takfiris’ who carried out the attack. It is unknown if there were any fatalities in the clashes that ensued. Houthis accused the Salafis of occupying homes and turning them into barracks. A team of mediators are trying to stop the fighting, but that the Salafi head, Sheikh Yahya al-Hajori, has refused to meet them. Clashes between the two sides had stopped until Eid al-Fitr, when five Salafis were killed.

Ansarullah.com, the official Houthi website, says that the Salafi attack is a result of a meeting between and unlikely allance of Islah leaders and Salafis, as well as the acting US ambassador. The US acting ambassador apparently told them to fight the Houthis and the Herak for causing problems at the National Dialogue, and to specifically target the Houthis at the Shia religious festival Eid al-Ghadeer, and the Herak at the 14th October Revolution celebrations.

National Dialogue:

Presidency of the National Dialogue and the Conciliation Commission holds special meeting; Ben Omar: Agreement over a solution for the Southern Issue is now possible.

Wednesday evening saw a special meeting between Jamal Ben Omar and Ahmed Bin Mubarak, the secretary general of the National Dialogue, along with his deputies, in order to discuss the stalled ‘8+8’ group, that had been meeting to reach a solution to the Southern Issue, reports Masdar Online. Ben Omar said that the ‘8+8’ group had managed to reach an agreement on many issues, adding that a final agreement was now possible.

That actions of the Herak bloc told a different story, as Mohammed Ali Ahmed announced that the Herak were replacing their representative in the presidency of the National Dialogue, Yaseen Makawi, with the more hardline Radhia Shamseer, after disagreements emerged between Makawi and the Herak leadership, reports Aden al-Ghad.

Radhia Shamseer was also in the news for different reasons.

Aden al-Ghad reports:

“Herak NDC delegate responds to criticism of her handing out grapes during the Herak/Houthi press conference at the Movenpick Hotel.

Radhia Shamseer reacted with disdain to media reports that focused on her handing out grapes, saying that certain elements of the media should focus on the real issues, and that ‘handing out grapes at the National Dialogue was more honourable and honest than handing out the land and property of others to looters, the corrupt, murderers, and criminals.'”

Well, that escalated quickly.

Al-Wasat reports that Presidential Advisor, Dr Abdulkareem Al-Iryani, is behind the ‘political isolation’ law, that would prevent those covered by the immunity clause of the GCC initiative from running for political office. A surprise, considering he’s a former ally of Saleh. But then, so was Hadi.

Unrest continues in the South in response to ‘Sanaa’s Dialogue’, and Herak’s new allies at Ansarullah.com reported that the streets of Aden were full of armoured vehicles and soldiers. A ‘political message’ to the Herak for boycotting the National Dialogue final session.

Aden al-Ghad also reported this, saying that a source in the local government told the news outlet that the blackout, which lasted for more than 12 hours, and the massing of security forces, was in response to Herak moves in the NDC, and that the blackout may have been deliberate.

Sana’a International Book Fair Concludes:

The 29th Sana’a Book Fair concluded at the Expo Centre in Sana’a. The fair ran for 11 days, featuring thousands of books on different topics. 130 publishing houses took part, 43 coming from Lebanon, 20 from Syria, 7 from Saudi Arabia, as well as from Jordan, the UAE, Oman, Turkey, India, Morocco, and France.

Zaid al-Faqih, from the General Book Authority, said that the fair was a success, despite the difficult circumstances, such as the constant powercuts.

Mareb Press reported that 1.5 million visited the fair.

Security Situation:

President Hadi spoke of a new strategy to fight terrorism, after he met army chiefs from around the country. Hadi said that the army was no longer divided amongst itself, and was now a united front.

Meanwhile, unknown gunmen killed a soldier in Ghayl al-Wazir, Hadhramaut (Aden al-Ghad), there were clashes next to the Interior Ministry in Sana’a (Barakish Net), and a youth was killed in Ma’ala, Aden, with some locals saying it was drunk members of the Central Security Forces who shot the 19 year old after an argument (Aden al-Ghad).

Yemeni Fisherman Held in Eritrea Arrive Back in Hodeida:

33 Yemeni fishermen arrived in the port of Hodeida on Wednesday morning after spending time in detention in Eritrea, as well as 17 Eritrean soldiers who also arrived claiming asylum. Many of the fishermen were in poor conditions after their treatment in Eritrea. They were detained in Eritrea for between a few months and a year and a half. The returned fishermen said that hundreds of Yemeni fishermen remained in detention in Eritrea, and that the Yemeni government was not defending them. The fishermen did not receive any official welcome in Yemen. There are no more details on the reasons for the Eritrean soldiers fleeing to Yemen (Masdar Online).

Clashes and Corruption in Hodeida:

Reports Masdar Online:

“The Police Department in Hodeida was targeted by gunmen affiliated to a tribal leader, who is also an MP. The clashes are reminiscent of those that happen from time to time over the looting of abandoned land, or land belonging to the state.

Before the attack on the Police Department, security forces had arrested the son of the GPC MP Saghr Bin Aziz, as well as another man, after they had been seen with weapons in the city, and had then refused to hand them over.

A security source told Masdar Online that the attack led to one policeman being injured in the foot, and another man who was lying down across the road was also injured.

Following the attack Bin Aziz went to the governor of Hodeida, Akram Attiya, with several tribal leaders from Hodeida, as well as MPs, and managed to secure the release of his son and the man with him. A local source said that this was “a flagrant violation of the law, in the light of the attack against a government building, ignoring those injured in the attack.”

The local security forces had decided last Thursday to prevent people from carrying weapons in the streets of the governorate.”

Electricity, Again:

New attacks on electricity pylons plunge many Yemeni cities into darkness again

Electricity Ministry source says that fresh attack happened in Aal-Shabwan, Marib, after the damage from the last attack, in Nehm, Sana’a, had been repaired.

June 2011 Presidential Palace Bombing:

Human Rights Watch called for 5 men held unlawfully for 2 years to be released, or tried, by the Yemeni government. The men are being held in connection to the bombing of the Presidential Palace in June 2011, which severely injured former President Saleh, and killed many of those who were in the Nahdayn Mosque, part of the presidential compound, where the bomb was placed. The detained men say that they have been tortured. (Mareb Press).

Opposition to Saturday Weekend:

Abridged from Masdar Online:

“Have the Houthis and al-Qaeda agreed on their opposition to the new weekend?

Both al-Qaeda and the Houthis consider that moving the weekend from Thursday to Saturday (in addition to Friday) is imitating the Jews. Masdar Online’s reporter in al-Baydha said that gunmen thought to be from al-Qaeda visited schools in the last two months in al-Zahir and Walad Rabee’ warning them to continue opening on Saturdays. Locals say that the schools have followed the orders, and are continuing with the old schedule.

Also in al-Baydha, local sources said that a headmaster in al-Arsh, who is known to be close to the Houthis, tried to make his students attend school on Saturday, before being prevented from doing so by the local education office. The Houthis continue to raise banners in their protests criticising the National Unity Government for moving the weekend, calling them the ‘Government of Saturday’. Masdar Online’s reporter in Sa’dah has said that the Houthis there have tried to force government institutions in the governorate to close on Thursdays and remain open on Saturdays, but most government institutions do not follow their orders, apart from some that are controlled by Houthis, and where employees have been warned that they will be punished should they not follow the old weekend. Sources also say that the Houthis ensure that schools remain open on Saturdays and closed on Thursdays, and also remove the national motto on the buildings, replacing them with the Houthi motto. In Amran, Masdar Online says that they attacked schools with gunfire because they were following the new weekend. The head of education in Amran considered the attacks a result of the fighting between the Houthis and local tribes, and said that the schools were being repaired.”

Priorities, people, priorities.


The sacking of state employees as a result of the 6 Sa’dah wars causes problems for the Civil Service in Sa’dah [Ansarullah.com] … Last month sees record numbers of casualties as a result of guns. 27 people, including 3 children, and 3 women [Masdar Online] … Security Source: Aden Police arrest criminal gang in Sheikh Othman [Aden al-Ghad] … Department for Youth in the Ministry of Youth and Sport is a place where money disappears, according to experts [Mareb Press] … Arab Boxing champion Monsef al-Homayqani is received by crowds in al-Baydha, and says that the government awarded him with a kilo of coffee #OnlyInYemen [Mareb Press] … Iranian Foreign Ministry Rep Hassan Ameer Abdullahyan calls for more to be done in order to secure the release of the kidnapped Iranian in Yemen, Nour Ahmed Nikbakht, in a meeting with Yemeni parliamentarians in Tehran [Mareb Press] … 60 of those injured in the Youth Revolution and the Southern Movement taken to Jordan for treatment [Mareb Press] … Winner of 2008 President’s Award for Youth Story-Writing turns out to be a forgery of the work of a Moroccan author [Mareb Press] … ‘Turathiyat’ Art Exhibition opens in Taiz [Mareb Press] … Sec-Gen of Asian Football Federation: We will help Yemen to lift the ban on international football in the country [Mareb Press] … Yemen national football team loses 3-2 to Iraq in a friendly played in Beirut [Mareb Press]




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