Sunday, May 29, 2011

Residents call for help amidst fierce fighting :Yemen

Posted in: Front Page
Written By: Majid al-Kibsi

Article Date: May 28, 2011 - 11:53:09 AM

Residents in al-Hasaba area have complained about the bad humanitarian situation they have endured due to the armed conflict between the authorities and Sadeq al-Ahmar and his brother’s militias that started on Monday.

The residents demanded an end to the conflict, complaining that residential areas have been turned into battlegrounds for guerillas. Mohammed al-Dhari is among the citizens who lives in al-Hasaba and demanded that the government acts to halt residents from evacuating the area.
“I was about to die two times. The first time I was out of the house and  the they struck it with two rocket-propelled grenades (RPG) on the rooftop,” he said.

“The second time, I was in the frontyard of my house and the RPG exploded nearby, injuring me in the hand. The blast pushed me to hit the door and injure my head.”
Al-Dhari also said that a two-storey neighboring house had been completely demolished due to the random shooting by al-Ahmar militias. He demanded that the government protects the houses in the area.
“I had to evacuate in a rush and I think the house will be an easy target for the burglars who spread fast in the area. They are trying to steal from any house in the area,” said al-Dhari.
His son Waseem added that the “area is more like cemetery”.
“The houses are destroyed and the casualties are everywhere. You can also see the military clothes on the ground after they took it off and ran away,” said Waseem.
Fares Anam, a journalist at the Yemen Observer newspaper, lives next to the Army Maintenance Corps. He confirmed that he and his family were moving out of their home, fleeing from the current tough situation in their neighborhood.

“The conflict is getting worse day by day and the clashes on Tuesday night was non-stop all night. Both sides used heavy weapons,” said Anam.
He also said that he was not the only one considering moving out of the area.

“Residents in the neighborhood are moving out in large numbers because the conflict area has expanded and reached houses far from al-Ahmar’s house,” said Anam.

He said that the problem was not only the authorities and al-Ahmar family. Other parties have joined the conflict as well. He said that many tribal leaders who live in that area have joined the fight.
“The area has turned into a guerilla war zone. Tribal leaders have installed barracks of their own and they shoot semi-randomly towards any direction they think the other side’s shooting comes from.” 
Marwan al-Soba’ai, another resident, said that fear has engulfed even surrounding areas.

“We found bullets on the rooftop of the house. This places fear among our families. The situation must be stopped as soon as possible,” he said.
Eyewitnesses confirmed that the shooting in residential areas was from the side of al-Ahmar family.

“The authorities are shooting towards one direction, to the side of al-Ahamr house, but al-Ahmar militia is spread all over the areas, in houses, Al-Rammah School, Raba’ah al-Adwiah mosque, Yamania building and even Saba news agency,” said one eyewitness.

He said that thieves were spreading out over the area and that it was not safe anymore. He said that if he went there, it would be only in the morning and for couple of hours only.
The Ministry of Interior has announced that its building was not occupied by the militias of al-Ahmar. In addition, the Ministry of Defense’s SMS news service by 26Sept announced that President Ali Abdullah Saleh has issued a warrant of arrest for Abdullah al-Ahmar’s sons in order to put them on trial for treason and armed mutiny.
Sadeq al-Ahmar, the eldest brother of the al-Ahmar family and the head sheikh of the Hashid tribes, said that he was willing to stop shootings if President Saleh stopped first. He said that he was not willing to have a mediation with the president though.
Al-Ahmar replied to the arrest warrant: “I am waiting for him.” 
At least two kilometers around al-Ahmar’s house is totally under his control. This makes it difficult for the authorities to strike, except with heavy artillery. 

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