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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