Yemen confiscates TV transmitters

The Yemeni authorities have confiscated two "unauthorised" transmitters belonging to local offices of al-Jazeera and al-Arabiya TV channels. 

This seems to be part of a wider pattern of harassment, particularly of al-Jazeera, over its coverage of separatist protests in the south. In recent days there have been several complaints from the government and its supporters that al-Jazeera "fabricates stories", broadcasts "false reports", "lacks credibility", etc, etc.

Last July, an MP from the ruling party called for the closure of al-Jazeera's Sanaa office and shortly afterwards the channel's bureau chief received a telephoned death threat.

Following President Salih's offer to talk to the separatists, a gun battle broke out in Tor al-Baha yesterday when government forces tried to recapture the municipality building which had been taken over by separatists. Two people were reported killed.

Two protesters were also shot dead in Dalea (al-Dhali'), according to Reuters, and security forces used teargas and water cannon against demonstrators in Ta'izz. (Ta'izz is not technically south Yemen but in the area known as al-wasat – "the middle". Politically, it has a foot in both northern and southern camps.)

Reuters adds that mobile phone networks remain turned off in some parts of the south as a security measure.

  • There is some excitement in the US media at the discovery that Sharif Mobley (or Sharif Mobily), the al-Qaeda suspect who tried to shoot his way out of a Yemeni hospital last weekend, is an American citizenfrom New Jersey. Initial reports had said he was a German national of Somali origin.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 12 March 2010.