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Monday, 16 May 2011

Saleh bombing Al-Haima tribes, shooting at mediators May 16

Update: 16-05-2011 Issue No.14010 Yemen Times

Republican Guards, tribesmen battle in Al-Haima

Ali SaeedPublished:16-05-2011
SANA’A, May 15 — For the fourth day in a row, Republican Guard soldiers under the command of Ahmed Saleh have been engaged in ongoing attacks against villages surrounding the Al-Manar military base in the Al-Haima area, 60 KM outside of the capital Sana’a, local sources told the Yemen Times.

Dozens of families in Al-Mafahaq area were displaced after their houses were destroyed by shelling, said local human rights activist Hussein Al-Sabri to the Yemen Times. The site used to belong to the first armored brigade under the command of defected Maj. Gen. Ali Mushsin. Maj. Gen. Muhsin defected from the Saleh regime last March following the killing of 52 pro-democracy protesters leaving Friday prayers on March 18th.

“They [the families] have left their homes and gone to live with their relatives in a neighboring village. Some of them have taken residence inside a local school building being used as a temporary shelter,” he said.

Until now three people have been wounded, among them one child from the Al-Mafahaq area. Numbers of casualties among soldiers is unknown, according to Al-Sabri.

The confrontation between armed tribesmen and Saleh’s army broke out four days ago when Republican Guard soldiers replaced the 100 policemen on duty in the area with 200 soldiers from their own brigade armed with heavier weapons.

“This action from the republican guards has provoked citizens in the area. They sent a local mediator to area where the forces began setting up camp and asked them to withdraw and allow the normal police presence back in. They refused and then shot at the group of mediators,” the activist explained.

At the moment armed tribesmen are blockading the military base amidst while local leaders continue to send in mediators to negotiate a stop to the violence, allowing the soldiers peacefully, according to Al-Sabri.

“Saleh has superior military force and tries to exploit this against the defected army to force them into a civil war,” said political analysts Abdul Ghani Al-Eryani to the Yemen Times.

“They [Saleh’s regime] do not want to start the war because the one starts the war will be condemned domestically and internationally,” he said

“These sporadic clashes are merely acts of tactical positioning for the final showdown. The society is not divided enough to launch a civil war but Saleh is trying to create the social divisions that will enable it to begin.” 

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