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Outages continue after seven attacks on power lines.

SANA'A, May 4th -- The number of power outages in the country has a reached a new peak as people from the Al-Damasheqa region in Marib governorate continue to attack power lines leading to electricity hubs across northern Yemen. Two power lines have been repaired by a team of 14 engineers since the attacks began, but while repairs are being made, raids will continue to affect power stations in Marib. Seven attacks were carried out in a single week, beginning on 24 April 2011. These raids have caused the shutdown of the one major gas-powered generator in Marib, which has in turn resulted in the rolling blackouts that have inconvenienced thousands of Yemenis. The repeated power outages have sparked anger amongst the country's shop owners, who say that their work is being negatively affected by the problem. Many local businesses, such as Internet cafes, have been forced to close during the cuts, even though many of them have separate generators. "Yes, I have a generator, but it's too expensive to run for an extended period of time," said one Internet cafe owner, as he sat in front of his closed shop, waiting for power to return. "I've lost a great deal of money because of these cuts," he continued. "If this dire situation continues, I will have to shut down permanently." Abdurrahman Saif, engineer and General Manager of the gas-powered generator in Marib, said that the saboteurs are demanding jobs and money. "They sometimes steal spare parts from the station. We have repeatedly asked the national security forces to intervene, but so far they haven't responded to any of our requests," said Saif. Speaking to the Yemen Times, Saif voiced concern regarding threats that have been made against the engineers who are brought to repair the lines. "We immediately brought engineers from Sana'a to Marib to fix the problem, but they were all threatened," he explained. Abdulaziz Mohammed Al-Saqqaf, Deputy Director of the Public Electricity Corporation, told the Yemen Times that, "Since its establishment, the [gas-powered generator] station has been attacked repeatedly, by people who demand jobs and bribes." "The recent attacks were the worst," said Al-Saqqaf. "These are tribesmen who insist on attacking the station without making any concrete demands and without having any reason to do so." Al-Saqqaf called upon the tribesmen of Marib to allow his engineers to work in safety.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:May 5, 2011
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