Local News

Electricity Saboteurs Still Elude Punishment

National Yemen

An innocence criticize the government on power cut

By National Yemen

A governmental minister has recently signed an agreement on a new “Marib 2” electricity plant. The opening of the plant had been put on hold due to Yemen’s security situation.

This station will produce a greater quantity of electricity than the old station, and in general will solve many of Yemen’s electricity problems in general.

The minister also said that 80% of plant preparations have been completed. These preparations will add 400 new Megawatts to Yemen’s power grid, solving the problem of Yemen’s electricity deficit and extending electric power to many Yemeni villages and other remote areas.

Director General of Electricity Abd al-Rahman Aklan told Marib Press that the plant will be powered by four turbines soon to arrive from Germany once the station’s foundation is completed. He expected that the Marib 2 Station will enter service in mid-2014.

The attacks on electric power sources still continue. Yemenis across the country experienced elongated periods of darkness through the long days of October. The Ministry of Interior has since blamed October’s outages on recently identified vandals. They have arrested the infamous vandal Klfot in al-Mahweet province.

A security source at the Ministry of Interior revealed that many of the saboteurs of electric towers enjoy the support of certain political figures, some belonging to the former regime. Security forces do their best to arrest these criminals, but many also hide behind their tribes.

October witnessed six attacks on electricity installations. In the latest attack, launched on 22 October, electricity was cut for a few hours before electric lines were attacked again. Security sources pointed out that there is a standard process to attack electricity facilities, as evidenced by the fact that these attacks occur just when people need electricity most.

Abd al-Wasa al-Qudsi, Director General of Transport and Generation Stations in the Ministry of Electricity, said that electrical attacks number 320 in the period between 2010 and the middle of this year—an average of one attack every week.

According to al-Qudsi, the state lost 41 billion rial subsequent to these attacks from 2010 to 2012 alone. In an interview, al-Qudsi said that there has been an evolution in the bombing of electrical stations. While vandals began by shooting at power stations, they have now progressed to bombing electricity towers themselves, which led in large part to the destruction of the original Marib station.

Bombing the iron electricity towers in Marib last month caused a serious problem for electricity in Yemen, forcing engineers to return back to wooden towers after already transition to towers made of iron.

The only way to stop these attacks is to arrest the perpetrators, especially the perpetrators of those operations known of by security services, said al-Qudsi.

Solving these problems, however, has also turned into a struggle to establish jurisdiction. The Electricity Ministry has claimed that responsibility for stopping the attacks on electricity facilities falls on the Ministries of Defense and Interior. The Director of Public Relations and Media in the Ministry of Electricity, Taha Zubayri, has said that the problem is not one for the Electricity Ministry, because both the Minister and the General Director of Electricity Institutions within said ministry do their jobs very well.

When any attack happens, explained Zubayri, the ministry’s engineers travel to the location with all necessary replacement parts to fix the damage immediately.

The main problem, he added, is that both the Ministries of Defense and Interior are unable to protect the towers, or at least arrest those saboteurs who attack them. Often, the Ministry of Interior will publish the names of the vandals without ever actually trying them.

More than once, President Hadi has called on the army and security forces to take the necessary steps to punish the vandals and outlaws attacking Yemen’s power installations.

At the same time, during the recent visit of the Defense Minister to Marib Province, the minister also emphasized the importance of punish said vandals and outlaws. Similarly, the Interior Minister has called on the people of Marib province to prevent the vandals from harming the interests of the country and the people.

Zubayri concluded his statements yesterday by calling on the Defense and Interior ministries to fulfill their responsibilities in this area. He also called on them to arrest at least one vandal and try him as a lesson to other saboteurs.