Local News Political Analysis

Army Campaign Looms in Southern Town

Sheikhs of Radfan Appeal to President to Cease Plan

By Abdul Malik al-Assar

National Yemen Exclusive

The Yemeni military managed to gain control over Malah district, ejecting armed militants from the area after dozens of protesting residents of Radfan town occupied the streets of nearby al-Habilayn last Wednesday.  The demonstrations, were in anger over the killing Abbas Tambah last week, after which the several soldiers were killed and others injured inside the market of al-Habilayn, the capital of the directorate.  At the time, a number of local security and military delegations arrived at the administrative building in Malah district for a meeting to discuss the local tensions and security problems.  No more details on the results of the talks were immediately forthcoming.

Tambah was killed in a clash Thursday the week before last in al-Habilayn, and an officer and four soldiers were killed, and other soldiers and civilians injured in ensuing battles with gunmen.  At that protest, protestors held the photo of Abbas Tambah and Secessionist flags, along with photos of Ali Salem al-Beidh, while chanting slogans against the authorities.

A number of military units and central security and emergency personnel were seen to be mobilized in Radfan city, according to witnesses, and in the mountains surrounding the capital of the governorate Lahj.

In the meantime, a spread of armed activists of the Southern Movement were seen on the streets of al-Habilayn and the surrounding mountains and they allegedly set up their own checkpoints at the entrances to the city, anticipating attacks from the Yemeni military.

Tensions are ongoing between the military and armed Southerners, and no news has been forthcoming on mediations to solve the situation since last Thursday.

At the same time, Sheikhs from Radfan sent a letter last Saturday to the President Ali Abdullah Saleh to intervene to solve the matter by forming an independent committee to gather with all the political leaders, local authorities, sheikhs, and interested parties to address Radfan’s problems.

The latest ongoing problems are well-known to each one.  The statement claimed that some parties are benefiting from the on-going problems, and are encouraging the incidents and tensions in the district, for the sake of personal gains and political power-plays.

For that reason they affirmed their rejection of a military solution, and came out against this decision, which, according to the statement, “will lead not only the area into disaster, but also the whole country.”