Political Editor: The Majalla
on : Friday, 15 Mar, 2013
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Yemen Pipeline Attackers Demand Compensation

Yemeni tribal source reveals that “saboteurs” have grievances dating back to 1994 civil war

Police troopers are silhouetted as they stand guard on bridge overlooking the parade commemorating the second anniversary of the uprising. SOURCE: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

Police troopers are silhouetted as they stand guard on bridge overlooking the parade commemorating the second anniversary of the uprising. SOURCE: MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

SANA’A, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemeni saboteurs who continue to target vital national interests have human rights demands, Asharq Al-Awsat has learned.

A tribal source based out of the town of Sarwah in Marib province revealed that tribal gunmen are responsible for the repeated targeting of the oil pipeline that runs through the region. He added that the attacks are escalating and that the strategically important pipeline has been attacked three times over a period of five days.

The source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that those responsible for this string of dangerous attacks have a number of human rights demands, adding that the latest attack came after mediators had begun to work to put an end to the crisis between the concerned tribes and the Yemeni government.

Gunmen attacked an oil pipeline in Marib and electricity lines in Sana’a on Thursday, the latest in a string of attacks that have left residents of the capital and other major Yemeni cities in darkness.

The source claimed that the mediation committee had secured an agreement between the tribal gunmen and the government, with Sana’a pledging to meet their demands within ten days. Despite the reported agreement, the tribal gunmen escalated their attacks demanding the “reinstatement of soldiers discharged [in the aftermath of the civil war], in addition to better services and general state rights.”

The tribal source clarified that some of these rights are related to “compensation from the state for their participation in the 1994 Yemeni civil war.” This war ended with the victory of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s forces, who remained in control of a unified Yemen.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, the tribal source accused the Grievance Committees, formed by Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi after he succeeded Saleh, of being responsible for the continuation of these problems in the region. He alleged that the Sana’a government had “disbursed more than YER one billion (USD 9 mn) to certain figures, while excluding others.”

Former President Saleh formed a Special Grievance Committee to tackle land disputes and the dismissal of civil, security, and military personnel in the southern provinces in the aftermath of the 1994 civil war.

According to an official source, the Yemeni government does not believe that this string of attacks targeting vital interests have anything to do with legitimate or human rights demands but rather that those responsible are using these issues for cover. The source claimed that the real objective behind the attacks is to derail the government.

The Yemeni official told Asharq Al-Awsat: “The proof that these attacks have political objectives can be seen in the fact that they have escalated recently in the lead up to the comprehensive national dialogue scheduled to begin in Sana’a on Monday.”

By Arafat Madabish

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