By: Amjad Ahmed
The rate of smuggling weapons through Yemeni outlets and coasts has increased due to the decrease of authorities control over the state’s axes. Yemeni coasts have witnessed many operations of smuggling weapons, drugs and illegal immigrants into Yemeni lands over the past six months.
Official sources stated that the smuggling operations took place in Taiz city through Al-Makha and Dhabab directorates despite the presence of many military brigades there. It was reported that the shipments were unloaded in Wahja and Al-Kadha, close to the port of Al-Makha. “Al-Sowaida’a directorate also witnesses daily operations of loading and uploading the smuggled diesel and illegal immigrants,” added sources.
Smugglers are citizens of the mentioned directorates who work for their own benefit or for more effective smugglers. Most prominently among them is Qaed Zaid. Zaid belongs to the Dhabab directorate and owns large boats and yards. There is also Abd Hessn Mahiem who owns two large boats and works for two other smugglers including Saeed Hamood Zaid. Moreover, smuggler Mohammed Salem Al-Haddani owns a large vehicle and works for smugglers outside town who are specializing in weapons and oil derivatives.
Smugglers use various tools when they load their goods from the Somali, Eritrean and Djiboutian coasts.
Goods are being smuggled either into Yemen or outside Yemen and include oil derivatives; trading goods and weapons that go to certain groups like the Houthis, local traders and influential politicians However, despite the fact that many military forces are located at the border lines at Dhabab and coastal lines, daily smuggling operations have not been stopped. Sometimes, military forces cover for the smuggling operations and protect smuggled goods until they reach their final destination.
Nevertheless, security has arrested different shipments of smuggled weapons in the Dhabab directorate in operations run by different brigades. Forces also broke into yards and houses where weapons were hidden. The court also started prosecuting nine people who were involved in the smuggling of weapons in the now infamous Jihan shipment which came from Iran. The Jihan shipment was the ever largest shipment of weapons that were intended to be unloaded on Yemeni lands. It also included various heavy weapons that were heading to Houthi groups, which control Sa’ada province.
The website of the Interior Ministry stated suspected boats have been put under surveillance. “These procedures come as part of a plan that aims to close the sea’s access to smuggling operations and activities,” added the ministry’s website.
Edited by Kevin Davis