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Security incidents in Yemen, 1998

   

"We recorded 8,446 crimes last year. This shows that crime is still at a reasonable level." - Major-General Husayn Muhammad Arab, Interior Minister, interviewed in al-Hayat, 6 January, 1998

The list below, compiled from various sources, includes security incidents and related events which appeared to have some political significance. 

See also: Violence in Yemen - report of a seminar organised by the Consultative Council (Yemen Times 7.9.98)


1998

JANUARY | FEBRUARY | MARCH | APRIL | MAY | JUNE | JULY | AUGUST | SEPTEMBER | OCTOBER | NOVEMBER | DECEMBER

 

DECEMBER

December 31: Socialist Party representative, Ahmed Mossad Amman, assassinated as he was leaving the mosque in Dimth village, Dali' province (Attariq, 5.1.99).

December 29: Al-Balagh newspaper reports that troops have used tanks and artillery against villages of the al-Jalal tribe in Marib following a dispute between two tribesmen and soldiers in which one tribesmen was killed and three soldiers wounded.

December 27: al-Haq newspaper reports that one person died and two were injured when two rival tribes from Mikhlaf in Sharaab (Tai'zz province) clashed with light and medium weapons a few days ago. No reason was known.

December 26: Tribesmen blew the 19th hole in the oil pipeline near Sarwah (Marib province). A fire which broke out was still burning after two days (Reuter, 28.12.98).

December 24: al-Thawri newspaper reports that military police fired at two students in Marib, killing one of them. The killing triggering large-scale armed confrontations between the army and students' tribe.

December 24: The secretary of the Yemeni Socialist Party in Damt was shot dead as was leaving the mosque (Attariq, 5.1.99).

December 24: Al-Thawri newspaper (YSP) reports that Yafa'i notables have expressed dismay at "the army's recent attack" on Sheikh Salih Haidara al-Atawi which ended in his arrest. 

December 23: Weapons found in an Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan (Jihad) vehicle in Aden. According to the Interior Minister, the occupants were preparing to attack the British consulate, a UN office and the homes of American officers working to clear mines (AFP, 31.12.98). Five Britons and a Frenchman subsequently arrested; they deny involvement.

December 22: RAY newspaper reports that Obeidi tribes in Khawlan have threatened to blow up the oil pipeline in their territory unless the government fulfils its financial commitments towards them.

December 22: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that the interior minister, Hussein Arab, has accused unnamed members of parliament of obstructing the security authority's work.

December 22: RAY newspaper reports that two policemen were injured in Shabwa the week before last when unknown armed men shot at a police patrol.

December 21: Armed gang entered the offices of al-Rai' al-Aam newspaper and tried to attack its editor, Ali Mohammed al-Ulufy (al-Rai' al-Aam, 22.12.98)

December 21: A group of 8-10 armed men attempted to kidnap Nabil al-Khamiry, a Yemeni businessman, as he was leaving the offices of his Universal Company in Sana'a. According to the Yemen Times (28.12.98), the attackers, who had a car with military number plates, hit Mr Khamiry with their rifle butts, but he resisted and was later helped by his employees. The attackers fled after snatching his pistol and briefcase. According to al-Wahdawi (22.12.98), one attacker was killed, and the briefcase contained $116,000.

December 20: al-Shoura reports that the cost of damage to the Marib oil pipeline caused by explosions has reached $12 million, according to oil sources.

December 20: al-Haq newspaper, citing "well-informed sources", claims that Yemeni authorities have released and deported Nabil Qasebati, a Spanish national of Syrian origin. He was due to be executed after being found guilty of various crimes.

December 19: Two young men opened fire with machineguns following a quarrel near a mosque in Shahr, Hadhramaut. They accidentally killed one bystander and wounded three others, one them critically (Attariq, 29.12.98).

December 17: Al-Jamaheer newspaper (Ba'ath party) reports that six Arabs have been reported over the past few days while others are awaiting deportation in the political security prison. They included four Egyptians, wanted by their country's security apparatus, plus an Algerian nationalist and a Jordanian journalist, the paper said. The Yemeni authorities are still detaining a number of Sudanese, Iraqi and Eritrean opposition elements in addition to Egyptian Islamists.

December 15: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that armed men seized the unoccupied houses of Yassin Said Nu'man, former speaker of parliament, and Mohammed Said Muhsin, former housing minister in Sana'a. Both were prominent members of the Yemen Socialist Party before the 1994 war.

December 10: "Powerful explosion" near a military checkpoint in Dhali' province. It was the fifth such incident in four days (al-Soura, 13.12.98).

December 10: Jahm tribe blew another hole (the 17th) in the main oil pipeline near Wadi Hayyab.

December 9: A man opened fire on a car in Jamal Street, Sana'a, killing three people (al-Shoura, 20.12.98).

December 3: Al-Umma newspaper reports that an explosion towards the end of November targeted the Arab Bank branch in Aden and scores of people were arrested.

December 3: Al-Umma newspaper reports that armed men from four tribes used heavy artillery to bombard Al Kibs village, Sanaa province.

December 2: Tribesmen blew a 16th hole in the main oil pipeline near Serwah in Marib province. The Oil Ministry said the hole, which was leaking about 1,500 barrels per day, would take several days to repair. Reports attributed the incident to the Jahm tribe.

December 1: Al-Rai' al-Aam newspaper reports that Nahem tribesmen are stealing cars on the Sanaa-Marib road without any interference from a military checkpoint nearby.

December 1: Al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that armed guards in a tribal sheikh's motorcade fired 13 bullets at a taxi in al-Sitteen Road, Sana'a, because it failed to give way, killing the driver and seriously injuring the man sitting beside.


NOVEMBER

November 28: Six men opened fire with machine guns at head of the social security office in Attaq (Shabwa province). He was unhurt. (Attariq, 1.12.98)

November 25: Rival tribes clashed in the Rada'a city, injuring a 10-year-old boy and four members of Central Security. Al-Sahwa (3.12.98) noted that "street fighting usually erupts in the city every now and then."

November 24: A car bomb exploded in the Hadda district of Sana'a, killing three people and injuring four. It was the most serious incident in the capital since the June riots. Although the explosion damaged windows of the German embassy, the actual target was unclear. Hadda is the most fashionable residential area of the city and virtually every building is occupied by someone of social or political standing. Apart from the embassy, the blast - which occurred at 11 a.m. - damaged the homes of Abdullah Ahmed Ghanim, the minister for Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and Sheikh Ahmed ibn Shajih, head of the Wa'ilah (Bakil) tribe in the far north who has been involved in border negotiations with Saudi Arabia. Any of them could conceivably have been the target, but Sheikh Ahmed told Agence France Presse on November 25 that the bomb was intended for him: "Saudi Arabia sent mercenaries to carry out this act," he said, because of his "refusal to concede one inch of territory" inhabited by his tribe. Those killed were a German embassy security guard, a Yemeni police officer, and a three-year-old child in a car nearby. Later, police said they were looking for four Yemeni men who had bought a car using false papers and packed it with 25 kilos of TNT. A group of sheikhs from Jawf province later condemned the blast but denounced Shajih's claims that Saudi Arabia was the perpetrator (al-Balagh, 22.12.98). Another tribal council from Bakil asked him to withdraw his charges.

November 21: Three explosions in Shabwa proinve. The blasts, which occurred almost at the same time, apparently targeted official security buildings (al-Shoura, 29.11.98). Between 12 and 16 people were arrested, including a number of sheikhs from Zabid (RAY, 1.12.98).

November 21: Tribesmen blew a hole in the oil pipeline near Serwah (Marib province) in the territory of the Yahim tribe. It was the 15th attack on the pipeline since the end of June. According to al-Jamaheer newspaper (19.11.98), about 75 members of the Yahim tribe had recently been arrested.

November 19: A "powerful" explosion occurred 400 meters from President Salih's motorcade as it entered al-Dali city (al-Shoura, 29.11.98).

November 19: al-'Usbu'a newspaper reports that members of the militant Jihad group in Abyan have transferred their headquarters to Shabwa.

November 18: Armed men hijacked at least 10 cars on the main Sana'a-Amran road, despite the presence of a military checkpoint nearby. (al-Jamahir, 19.11.98)

November 17: al-Ra'i al-Aam newspaper reports that two grenades were thrown at a house in Nuqum, Sana'a, injuring two people and causing serious damage.

November 17: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that two petrol station workers in Mukalla are being held on suspicion of involvement in a bomb explosion. "Popular and political circles" have denounced their continued detention, on the grounds that there is insufficient evidence, the paper said.

November 17: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that Central Security forces are storming houses in Sabbir (Ta'izz province) following exchanges of fire between two areas. The paper says residents have complained of security men were arresting people then asking for money to set them free. 

November 16: The 35th Armoured Brigade stationed in al-Dali' fired al-Houd village for about 15 minutes. (al-Thawri, 19.11.98)

November 12: Al-'Usbu'a newspaper reports that troops have lifted their siege of the Jahm tribe's villages. The month-long dispute ended after intervention by Sheikh Mujahid Abu Shawarib.

November 9: Colonel Abdul Salam al-Dal'ee, Under-Secretary of Jawf province, survived when armed men shot at his car in the town centre of Jawf. (al-Thawri, 19.11.98)

November 8: Al-Shoura newspaper reports that MiG warplanes flew low three times over Lawdar, Wadi'a, Mudiyyah and Mahfad (Abyan province), more than 10 days earlier, in a show of strength following a court ruling against tribesmen in the area.

November 8 (?): Security forces defused a time-bomb at the main entrance of the Second Channel television station in Aden one hour before it was due to explode. A number of people were rounded up for questioning. (al-Umma, 19.11.98)

November 7: Explosion near a fuel depot in Mukalla, Hadramaut province. Police said it caused serious damage but there were no injuries. It was the fourth in the city in the space of a few weeks. Four people later arrested.

November 1: Yemeni bomb disposal expert, Captain Mohammad al-Jalal, killed while trying to defuse explosives planted near offices of the water authority in al-Dali'. At least one other person was injured by the blast.


OCTOBER

October 31: Grenade thrown at a police car in al-Baida province, wounding two police officers. Police chief Ali Hassan al-Atmi later said a number of suspects had been arrested and two "confessed to the examining magistrate to having carried out a series of bomb attacks to terrorise the population." (AFP, 6.11.98)

October 29: Al-'Umma newspaper reports a "powerful explosion" in al-Qiyada road, leading to Tahrir Square, Sana'a. No official reports of the incident.

October 29: Al-Sahwa newspaper reports that a soldier's body was found in a mountainous area of al-Dali'. The man, originally from Jibla (Ibb province), had been shot.

October 21: Nabil Nanakli Qasebati, a Syrian with a Spanish passport, sentenced to death as the ring-leader of a group which carried out several bombings, mostly in Aden. Twenty-one others sentenced to jail terms between 18 months and four years, and five acquitted. The case opened in November 1997, and four of those convicted were tried in their absence. Qasebati had told the court in December 1997 he had been paid $150,000 dollars by Saudi intelligence to kill Abd al-Karim al-Iryani, who was foreign minister at the time. Qasebati was arrested following a shooting incident at the Sultan Palace Hotel in Sana'a.

October 20: Al-Ra'y al-Aam newspaper reports that a bomb exploded in a refuse collection vehicle in Sana'a, killing one worker and seriously injuring another.

October 18: Three men condemned to death and several others jailed after being found guilty by a Sana'a court of "acting on behalf of a foreign country," carrying out acts of sabotage in al-Mahra province in November 1996, and possession of explosives and other arms.

October 13: A military officer in al-Dali' was seriously wounded by Yemen's first donkey bomb. Explosives were apparently concealed under the donkey's saddle. The animal was blown to pieces. A soldier accompanying the officer was slightly injured.

October 13: Reuters news agency reports that Algerian, Egyptian, Libyan, Sudanese and Tunisian nationals are no longer allowed to enter Yemen unless they arrive from their own country. The move is part of a crackdown on Islamic militants.

October 6: al-Ra'y al-Aam newspaper reports security forces defused a 2-kg bomb near army barracks in Mukalla, Hadramaut province.

October 5: Several explosions at an ammunition dump in Aden. (al-'Umma, 8.10.98)

October 5: Incident in al-Dali'. According to al-Wahdawi (Nasserist newspaper), two bombs exploded at Martyrs' Square shortly before the prime minister arrived. An army unit on the outskirts of the city fired a heavy barrage at the place where the blasts occurred. According to al-Thawri (Socialist Party newspaper), the 35th Armoured Brigade, stationed in the town, exchanged fire some of its military outposts on mountains nearby. The army outposts started shelling after two large blasts occurred in the town. Several houses were damaged.


SEPTEMBER

September 26: Dr al-Murtadha Zaid al-Mahtouri arrested following a Friday khutba (sermon) in which, according to the security authorities, he criticised the September Revolution.  He was still being held in November (al-Balagh, 10.11.98).

September 25: About 2,000 people demonstrated against bombings in Aden. They marched after weekly prayers from the mosque in Sheikh Othman - the district where two people were killed and more than 25 injured in a market-place explosion on September 20.

September 23: A bomb exploded late at night in a car parked near a primary school in the Tawahi district of Aden. No casualties were reported.

September 22: Interior minister Hussein Mohammad Arab said recent explosions were part of "a foreign plot financed by suspicious parties". He said that last month police arrested 22 suspects linked to bombings in southern Yemen and financed by unnamed foreign powers. (al-Hayat 22.9.98)

September 21: Two people died in al-Dali’ province when 15kg of TNT in their car exploded. A government source said one of the victims, Rabia Ali al-Tawahi, had been carrying a Socialist Party membership card and was wanted in connection with several bombings in Aden.(Reuter; AFP)

September 20: Explosion in a deserted area of Sana’a. No damage or casualties reported. Shortly afterwards security forces set up checkpoints at main intersections to search for weapons. (Reuters 21.9.98)

September 20: Two killed (including a child) and 27 injured when a bomb placed in a barrow exploded in the vegetable market of Sheikh Othman district in Aden. The man who was pushing the barrow was seriously injured and later had both legs amputated. The explosion occurred near the municipality building and a police post. (AFP)

September 20: Tribesmen again damaged Yemen’s main oil export pipeline near Serwah in Marib province, about 170 km east. The local Khawlan tribe said the attack - believed to be the fourteenth since early June - had caused leakage and a fire. (Reuters; AFP)

September 17: Stun grenade thrown at a newspaper kiosk near a police station in Aden. No, casualties or damage. (AFP, 17.9.98)

September 13: al-Ayyam newspaper reports that members of parliament are no longer allowed to bring armed bodyguards into the parliamentary compound.

September 13: al-Ayyam newspaper reports that armed men broke into the security building in Ahwar and released their kinsman, Mohammed Ali al-Shihabi, who is Director of Duties for Ahwar. Mr Shihabi had been accused of setting up a false checkpoint, extorting money from travellers and ordering the shooting of a car whose driver failed to stop.

September 10: al-Umma newspaper reports 40 people arrested following three bomb explosions in Aden.

September 10: al-Umma newspaper reports that al-Dammajj tribe attacked and set fire to the oil pipeline near al-Zawr (22 km from Ma’rib). Hunt Oil workers were refused access when they attempted to close a valve in the area. The company later agreed to pay increased "rent" for the land where the valve is situated.

September 10: al-Jamahir newspaper reports fighting between two tribes in Harib (Ma’rib province) because of a territorial dispute.

September 10: al-Sahwa newspaper reports that two Ta’izz men have received 80 lashes for drinking alcohol.

September 8: RAY newspaper reports bomb explosions in five provinces: Sana’a, Aden, Dhamar, Abyan and al-Dali’.

September 8: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that large numbers of Arab and foreign nationals have been expelled from Yemen, allegedly for involvement in Islamic groups active against US interests.

September 8: Attariq newspaper reports that one man died and 11 were injured by a bombing in Shabwa.

September 4: Explosion at home of Major Ali Ahmad al-Rifa’I, head of the army complaints department in al-Dali’. A bomb was placed on the roof of his house in the eastern part of the town. The major was on duty at the time. (al-Ayyam 6.9.98)

September 3: A bank manager and his journalist passenger were forced to abandon their car when it came under fire from four highwaymen on the Ataq-Markha road. After inaction by the police, local residents pursued the thieves and eventually found the car. (Attariq, 8.9.98)

September 3: Three people executed in public. Ahmad Ali Hammud was executed in Sana’a after being convicted of killing two people. Fadl Ahmad Sakra and Zayed Sultan Ayun were executed in Ta’izz for the murder of a man.

September 3: al-Umma newspaper reportsone tribesman wounded in a clash between the Dahm tribe and troops in al-Jawf. Earlier the tribe had "apprehended" an army patrol.

September 2: Grenade attack on security headquarters in Zinjibar (Abyan province). Two passers-by injured. Five suspects arrested. It was the third attack on the building in the space of three weeks. (AFP 3.9.98; al-Thawri 3.9.98)

September 1: Series of explosions at an arms depot belonging to Political Security in Dhamar.

September 1: Oil output from Marib fields halted by a strike involving more than 1,000 workers. Four union officials briefly arrested. Production resumed in the early hours of September 2. The union said later it had suspended the strike for a month to allow time to implement an agreement on medical insurance and compensation for high-risk work. (Reuter, 1.9.98, 2.9.98; AFP 2.9.98)


AUGUST

August 30: Tribesmen seeking compensation for water wells flooded by the Marib dam attacked oil pipeline No 12, 64 km from Safir refinery (al-Wahdawi 1.9.98). The explosion caused leakage at an average of 40 barrels per hour and a fire continued for at least two days. (Al-Bayan, UAE 1.9.98)

August 30: Gunmen opened fire on a car belonging to the Internal Trade Company near Nujaiba (Ta’izz province) and stole several million riyals. There have been similar incidents in this area. (al-Jamahir, 10.9.98).

August 24: Government announces that the bodies of 14 Yemenis have been found in a valley in Asir, one of the provinces ceded to Saudi Arabia in 1934 under the Treaty of Ta'if (AFP 24.8.98).

August 20: al-Thawri newspaper reports that a bomb near Hunaina mosque in Hodeidah killed five people and injured 17.

August 20: Three Yemenis killed in US attack on the "bin Laden training camp" in Afghanistan (al-Ayyam 23.8.98).

August 19: A bomb exploded near the security headquarters in Zinjibar but there were no casualties. (al-Thawri 20.8.98)

August 16: The Interior Minister, General Hussein Arab, announced that a "sabotage network" of 22 Yemenis has been smashed. He said the group were responsible for assassination attempts using explosives in July in Aden and Lahaj, which killed at least five people were killed and injured many more. The minister also announced the arrest of Mohammad Shamsan, accused of the al-Khayr mosque bombing in Sana'a in April which killed two people and wounded 26. In both cases the accused were said to be "acting on behalf of foreign parties" (AFP 16.8.98). The Islamic Action Movement's newspaper, al-Balah (18.8.98) said the accused was an Ethiopian member of the Yemen Socialist Party. The YSP newspaper, al-Thawri (20.8.98) denied that the accused was a party member.

August 16: Police shot dead a man believed to be responsible for the murder of 13 people in the Bait al-Faki district of Hodeidah province. One officer was killed and three wounded in the shoot-out. The previous week, the man killed a husband and wife. Two days later, he killed three people who he thought had indentified him. Police said the man had been a member of the special security branch of the defence ministry in the early 1990s, but was later sacked and imprisoned for murder. (AFP 16.8.98)

August 14: An armed group in a pick-up truck fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a petrol station on the outskirts of Ahwar, near Lawdar, around dawn. Men positioned on the station's roof fired back (al-Sahwa 20.8.98).

August 13: al-Thawri newspaper reports that two people died and five were injured in tribal fighting over a piece of farmland in Abyan.

August 13: al-‘Umma newspaper reports a preacher at the Athrab mosque was killed by a rival religious group.

August 13: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports the chief of security in Mansuria, Hodeidah province, and five officers were shot dead while attempting to arrest a gang of five "highwaymen". The gang, using a car with an army number plate, had tried to abduct a Yemeni returning from Saudi Arabia and steal his car, when he stopped at a petrol station. Two other officers were injured. One gang member was killed but the others escaped.

August 13: A large bomb exploded near the political security building in Lawdar, causing extensive damage but no injuries. It was the fifth in the town within two months. (al-Sahwa 20.8.98). Following this attack, the YSP claimed that party members had been arrested along with a journalist who reported the incident (AFP 20.8.98).

August 11: al-Tariq newspaper reports that a child in Ataq found a missile detonator in the street and took it back home, where it exploded killing all six members of the family.

August 11: al-Tariq newspaper reports that a large bomb exploded in al-Habilain, Lahej.

August 11: al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that two people were killed, and a pipeline from the Safir oil field in Marib damaged, in a land dispute between the Khawlan and Sanhan tribes. Al-‘Umma (August 13) adds that a ceasefire was agreed after the Khawlan tribe released Colonel Ali Shumaila, former deputy commander of the Republican Guard and brother of Yemen’s ambassador in Washington.

August 7: An explosion, of unknown cause, cut off electricity in Qa'taba and surrounding villages in al-Dali' province (al-Ayyam 9.8.98).

August 7: An explosive package was thrown through the window of a house in Lawdar. It was the fourth incident of its kind in the town within a month (al-Ayyam 9.8.98).

August 5: About 15 armed men burst into the security administration building of al-Baydah province and released a prisoner (al-Ayyam 9.8.98).

August 2: Al-Ayyam newspaper reports a bomb explosion at the home of the chief of Abyan appeal court. Some damage but no casualties.


JULY

July 30: A man described as a "mental patient" fired several times at the headquarters of the Consultative Council in Sana’a. He reportedly aimed at the the third-floor office of Abd al-Aziz Abd al-Ghani, the council’s chairman. Nobody was injured. (AFP)

July 30: Nine people were wounded - one critically - when a young Yemeni man threw a grenade outside a cinema in Aden. The attacker was arrested; unconfirmed reports said he was an Islah supporter. (AFP)

July 28: Al-Tariq newspaper reports that bomb exploded in Ataq, Shabwa province, and two others were defused.

July 28: Al-Tariq newspaper reports that an Iraqi road engineer died in Nasab, Shabwa province, while fooling about with a weapon belonging to a Yemeni associate.

July 27: Three nuns shot dead in Hodeidah (Reuter 27.4.98). The authorities arrested an Islamic militant, Abdullah al-Nasheri, 21, who previously fought as a volunteer in Bosnia and is alleged to be insane (al-Thawri 30.7.98). The suspect was in possession of an airline ticket which showed that he was due to leave for Saudi Arabia at 7pm on the day of the killings (al-Tariq 28.7.98).

July 26: Al-Ayyam newspaper reports that police defused two time bombs near a mosque in the qat market at Ataq.

July 26: Al-Ayyam newspaper reports two bomb explosions in Moudia, Abyan  province.

July 26: Al-Ayyam newspaper reports that Sheikh Mohamed Salah Abd al-Muttaleb, the Egyptian imam of al-Hussaini mosque in Sana'a, was stabbed to death outside his home. A militant Egyptian group, the Sons of the Islamic Movement in Exile, later claimed Sheikh Mohamed had been assassinated by the Egyptian government (Reuter 27.7.98). According to al-Umma (the Haqq party newspaper, 30.7.98), the killer had Egyptian, Syrian and Jordanian nationalities. He had visited the sheikh the previous day, saying that he intended to marry a Serbian woman and wanted the sheikh to witness her conversion to Islam. An appointment was made for the next day. Although the killer had a gun, he used a jambia to fatally stab the sheikh. The sheikh called for help but the killer escaped in a car with his accomplice. Sheikh Mohammed had lived in Yemen for 11 years and was married with five children.

July 23: Al-Sahwa newspaper reports that five men were sentenced to between one and five years' imprisonment in connection with a bombing at Arwa park, Aden. A sixth man was acquitted on grounds of insanity.

July 23: Al-Thawri newspaper reports that several rocket-propelled grenades were fired at offices of the General People's Congress party in Lawdar, Abyan.

July 21: Al-Wahdawi newspaper reports that an explosion in an ammunition dump at Ra's Abbas barracks left more than 10 soldiers dead or wounded.

July 21: Members of the Shawlan tribe ambushed a convoy carrying the interior minister, Hussein Mohammad Arab, the state security chief, Ghaleb al-Qamsh, the minister of local administration, Sadeq Amin Aburas, and the governor of al-Jawf, Naji al-Dulaimi, 15 km outside al-Jawf. The governor and three bodyguards were wounded. Subsequent clashes between security forces and the tribe reportedly left 10 dead and 25 injured. (Reuter 21.7.98 and 23.7.98).

July 21: RAY newspaper reports that two people were killed and several injured in armed clashes between rival groups attempting to control Athrab mosque in Sana'a.

July 21: RAY newspaper reports that five people were injured between students and security men during demolition work on part of the Badar centre and mosque in Sana'a, where they study.

July 16: Al-Jamahir (Ba'athist weekly) reports that a water cistern at Amran was sabotaged, possibly as a retaliation for jailing some people in connection with the theft of agricultural equipment. (Al-Jamahir 16.7.98; Yemen Times 20.7.98)

July 13: Up to five people killed and two injured by explosion at a house in Lahij province. It is believed that the explosives were being kept in the house. (Reuter 14.7.98)

July 13: Percussion bomb exploded on the outskirts of Aden, near the main road north towards Sana'a.  (Reuter 14.7.98)


JUNE

June 18: Government announcement of steep price rises on basic commodities led to riots in major cities. Serious trouble with tribes in al-Jawf and Ma'rib provinces. Numerous attacks on oil pipeline, continuing well into July.

June 13: Six people died and at least 18 were injured when a hand grenade exploded in the market at al-Houta, about 30 km north of Aden. Security sources said the grenade was fastened to the belt of Hassan Azar, a qat seller, and it exploded when he accidentally pulled the pin while giving change. The League of the Sons of Yemen newspaper, RAY, disputed this, saying that the grenade belonged to a soldier who had accidentally pulled out the safety pin while taking out money from under his belt. (AP 13.6.98; al-Ayyam 14.6.98; RAY 16.6.98)

June 5-6: Clashes at Zubaid near al-Dali' (Lahij province) involving machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades. The main Aden-Sana'a road was cut off, as were telephone links with the area. According to the official version, the trouble started at 2.30 am when soldiers opened fire on a car which failed to stop at a checkpoint - killing one occupant and wounding another. This sparked off a protest demonstration and later the checkpoint was attacked by armed civilians. Security forces then deployed tanks and armoured personnel carriers. By the second day, eight people were dead and 18 wounded. The Socialist Party attributed the trouble to popular indignation against widespread corruption and "arbitrary practices". According to the Yemen Times: "It started as a stupid argument between a couple of citizens and the soldiers at a checkpoint ... Instead of starting an interrogation with the trigger-happy soldiers, the military camp nearby was mobilised. All of a sudden, there was a military showdown." (al-Hayat, 6.6.98; AP, 6.6.98; Yemen Times, 8.6.98)

June 2: Five rocket-propelled grenades exploded in Jaar, Abyan province. One caused serious damage to the telecommunications centre. Another hit the home of the provincial attorney-general, damaging a wall and windows, and setting fire to a car. Others exploded near the political security offices and an electricity station. The Islamic Jihad organisation said it carried out the attacks in protest at Yemeni relations with the United States. In March, the two countries held joint military exercises and President Salih later met General Anthony Zinni, Commander of US forces in the Middle East. There has been speculation (denied by Yemen) that the US may be seeking a military presence in the country. (al-Quds al-Arabi, 3.6.98)


MAY

May 28: The army newspaper, 26 September, reported that five men had been arrested in connection with the explosion at al-Khayr mosque on April 24.

May 26: Five masked men fired a rocket-propelled grenade at a restaurant in al-Dali', north of Aden. Soldier wounded in exchange of fire with the attackers, who escaped in a vehicle.

May 26: Police and troops used heavy artillery and helicopter gunships to attack the Hatat camp, 35 km north of Zinjibar (Abyan province), according to the Socialist Party newspaper, al-Thawri. The move came after tribal and community leaders in Yafa' complained about the activities of "extremists" who had set an "almost impregnable" training camp in the mountains three months earlier, with the help of instructors from various countries. This is believed to be connected with an organisation called the Islamic Army of Aden-Abyan, which contains salafi and Islamic Jihad elements.

May 21: One person reportedly killed and five injured by an explosion in Aden.

May 21: Rocket-propelled grenade attack and exchange of fire in Habilain district of Radfan (Lahij). Wave of arrests followed a few days later.

May 21: Socialist Party newspaper, al-Thawri, reported that Sheikh Mansur Bakhtan, a prominent tribal elder, had died in the private prison run by Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar, paramount chief of the Hashid, leader of the Islah party and Speaker of the House of Representatives (al-Thawri, 21.5.98). Meanwhile Sheikh al-Ahmar held a banquet in honour of the visiting Hamas leader, Sheikh Ahmad Yaseen (al-Sahwa, Islah newspaper, 25.5.98).

May 7: Explosion in car park next to office block occupied by the Ministry of Industry, Yemen Petroleum Company and Agricultural Credit Bank in Sana'a. No casualties. (Reuter 8.5.98; al-Quds al-Arabi 9.5.98)


APRIL

April 27: One protester killed and four people injured - including three policemen - during a demonstration in Mukalla on April 27. More than 2,000 people reportedly took part in the protest against the death sentences on southern leaders convicted of treason for their part in the 1994 secession attempt. All those sentenced are abroad. Both the Socialist Party and the League of the Sons of Yemen were involved in the protest. The League said security forces had tried to prevent the demonstration by surrounding the party's office and the homes of its local leaders on Monday morning.

April 24: Two killed and 27 injured in an explosion as they left al-Khayr mosque in Sana'a after Friday prayers on April 24. The mosque, in the Bir 'Abid district, is known for its links with fundamentalism. According to al-Ayyam newspaper, Sheikh Muqbil al-Wada'i and his religious opponent, Abd al-Majid al-Rimi, have been waging an "audio war", circulating accusations against each other on cassette. (Cassettes are often used for religious and political propaganda in Yemen because of the high illiteracy rates.) Those injured included a number of foreigners: Libyans, Somalis and two American passportholders of Arab origin. There was also a Canadian, Shakir Chargall, who is thought to be a western convert to Islam. He was reportedly engaged to a Malaysian woman and planning to marry in Sana'a.

April 23: Al-Thawri newspaper reports that a Muslim extremist group has recently set up an illegal military training camp in Abyan. New recruits have been pouring into the camp for a month now from various parts of Yemen. They are trained to use light and medium-size firearms by people from other Arab countries known for their support for religious extremism. A "Yemeni figure, well-known for his support for such groups", visited the camp during the Eid. People living in the area have complained that the camp interferes with their agricultural and sheep-grazing activities.

April 3: At least three people were killed when about 30 members of the Khawlan and al-Hada tribes fought with guns and firebombs in central Sana'a during a dispute about ownership of a building. Around 250 troops were called in to stop the battle and the street was sealed off. The former Bank of Yemen building was damaged. (AP 3.4.98)


MARCH

March 29: Associated Press reported that 14 people had been killed and 30 wounded during the previous month in a tribal dispute over ownership of a chain-saw. The al-Imaisi and al-Firassi tribes, both from the northern Dhamar province, use the same saw to cut stones for building houses. In a series of battles, the rival tribes attacked each other's homes and property, killing both people and livestock. (AP 29.3.98)

March 14: Armed robbers held up a bank van and stole about $3 million. The Yemen International Bank van carrying American, Saudi and German currency to Sana'a airport. (AP 14.3.98)


FEBRUARY

February 28: Two people were killed and three injured when a grenade exploded outside al-Rahman mosque in the Mansurah district of Aden while Sheikh Muqbil bin Hadi al-Wada'i, a prominent salafi, was giving a sermon. A security source suggested it was an accident, claiming that a man had been "fooling around" with a hand grenade which exploded, killing him and one of the sheikh's bodyguards. This explanation was not widely believed. Previously a man had blown himself up along with another bodyguard while attempting to plant a bomb in the sheikh's car. (al-Quds al-Arabi, 2.3.98; AP 28.2.98)

February 17: Explosion outside police station in Tawahi district of Aden. Ground floor windows broken; no casualties. (al-Sharq al-Awsat, 18.2.98)

February 12-15: Police in Sana'a dispersed demonstrators protesting at the US military build-up against Iraq over weapons inspections. Al-Haqq party involved. Officials said the demonstrations were "unlicensed". (al-Jazirah satellite channel, Qatar, 1830 GMT, 15.2.98)


JANUARY

January 20: Bomb exploded in a car belonging to Rawayshan Trade and Contracting company which had stopped opposite the company's office in Tahrir Square, Sana'a. No casualties. (al-Sharq al-Awsat, 21.1.98)

 

     

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Books

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Civil Society in Yemen
The political economy of activism in modern Arabia, by Sheila Carapico. Purchase from amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk

 
 
 
 


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Last revised on 22 May, 2009