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Marib electricity lines destroyed in clashes.

Members of the Murad tribe met in Marib city on Monday to discuss events taking place throughout the governorate. (Photo credit: Abdullah Al-Qabli)

SANA'A, Nov. 23--Following a series of attacks by tribesmen on the electricity lines in Marib on Sunday morning, clashes between tribesmen and military forces broke out and were ongoing as of Monday noon.

On Sunday morning, between 4 AM and 6 AM armed men from the local Al-Jedaan tribe launched three attacks on power lines in Al-Damshqa area of Wadi Obaidah district, according its director, Abdullah Hamid. Usually, tribesmen launch multiple attacks on the same power line to ensure they have stopped the flow of electricity.

The tribesmen then prevented a team of engineers from repairing the lines, which led the 13th Infantry Brigade in Wadi Obaidah to intervene, according to Hamid.

"The clashes have been ongoing as of Monday at noon," he said. "We will not negotiate with the tribesmen, rather, the army will use force to help the engineers fix the power line," he stated.

Mursal Al-Qabli, a tribal leader in the large Murad tribe in Marib, of which Al-Jedaan is a part, confirmed Hamid's account of the events. He condemned the actions of the Al-Jedaan tribe, saying that, "This behavior does not reflect the morals of the tribes of Marib, we are against this type of sabotage. It only reflects the morals of those who launched the attacks."

According to Hamid, the tribesmen are demanding the release of a relative who is being held in Sana'a's Central Prison. He said the tribesmen do not support any political party and that their demands are their own.

Hamid refused to give details about the prisoner. Independent Marib-based journalist Mohammed Buhaibeh said his identity is not known, but locals say he is accused of smuggling drugs.

The Marib gas power station provides the capital city and other governorates with electricity, leaving them without electricity since Sunday morning, following the attacks.

According to Hamid, this attack on the power lines is not connected to events that have been unfolding in Marib in recent weeks.

Mohammad Al-Walss Buhaibeh, a member of the Murad tribe, told the Yemen Times on Nov. 19, that nearly 2,000 armed men from Marib's various tribes stationed themselves in areas surrounding Marib city, including Al-Jedaan area. Heavily armed, these men claimed to protect the governorate from a possible Houthi invasion.

Buhaibeh added that 28 missiles had been stationed near the headquarters of the Safer, Jannah Hunt, and Schlumberger oil companies, and two gas-operated power plants, all located in the Serwah district. "All these targets will be attacked if Houthis enter the governorate," he stated on Nov.19.

Despite these threats, Al-Qabli agreed with Hamid, saying that the Sunday attacks on the Wadi Obaidah power lines were unrelated to previous statements and military maneuvers made by the tribes.

Ali Al-Qahoom, a member of the Houthis' Political Office, maintained that the Houthis do not intend to enter Marib governorate. However, "If Marib tribesmen are demanding our help, we will go there to help them save the power lines and oil pipelines, and protect the governorate from Al-Qaida."

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Nov 25, 2014
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