Written By: Shuaib M. al-Mosawa
Article Date: Aug 6, 2012 - 11:15:35 PM
The southern city of Zinjubar is said to have been freed from militants but officials there warn of a possible comeback by the militants due to lack of security and basic state amenities.
“Security is still week. The ministry didn’t provide anything. The Minister of Interior did not keep his promises nor his obligations:,” said Kasim Muhammed Hadi, the Head of Zinjibar local council.
“Zinjibar security has only 15 pieces of Kalashnikovs. There are no vehicles, no resources, nothing,” he added disgruntled The militants, operating under Ansar al-Sharia’s banner – the political front of al-Qaea in the region – were forced out last May after wrecking havoc in Abyan.
“If the state does not provide us with any structure -- human resources and hardware -- then citizens can’t feel secured. Citizens are suffering [from the deteriorating security situation],” said Hadi, a citizen in al-Wadee’a district of Abyan.
The Yemeni army, backed by a U.S. drone campaign against al-Qaeda militants, was able to force al-Qaeda militants from their stronghold of Zinjubar and neighboring Ja’ar which fell into the militants’ hand during last two years of antigovernment protest.
“Now, you see all people armed and you can’t tell who is a militia and who is a popular force member. Armed people now outnumber locals. The state needs to be present, supervising security checkpoints, which are nonexistent now, which is making the citizens demoralized.”
Hadi added that because of a breakdown in security, looting and thievery had become rampant in Zinjibar, adding to a sense of unstability in the region. “Most of the government workers do not go to work. We do need security.
Who would go to work while there is no security? - Non of the Security Forces personnel go to the streets…”
Hadi said Abyan security apparatus only consisted of 30 security members armed with 15 Kalashnikovs.
“In order for the citizens to feel secured the security should be stationed in their places,” Hadi noted. Although al-Qaeda militants suffered heavy losses, having had to retreat to the mountains where they could better hide from the army and the drones, they have now a strategic advantage on Jaar and Zinjibar as they can strike from above and surprise locals.
Only last Sunday a suicide bomber detonated himself inside a house, where locals gathered, striking at the heart of the Popular Forces members in the Ja’ar district. “If the security situation remains as it is now, militants could retake positions and what happened today [suicide bombing] is a clear sign,” said local officials.
Hadi said that although there are people who still support the return of the government, many were angry at its lack of action. “Yet, how would one live amid such a lack of security?
I do consider that security is absent and resources scarce. If the state is unable to provide security it should declare Abyan a disaster area.” Hadi said that the Minister of Electricity, Saleh Sumai’a, promised last month that within a week the electricity will be back in all areas, in time for Ramadan.
“We need to double technical and field teams to light up the city and restore citizens’ hopes and trust in their government,”Hadi said.
Moreover, the problem of Internally Displaced People in Abyan remains a grave humanitarian matter.
According to Since 2011, when al-Qaeda militants swoop in, a reported 40,000 families fled the province, running away from the war zone.
Although some IDPs bravely decided to return to rebuild their shattered, many have yet to be unabled. Hadi noted that “One walks in panic, awaiting death at any moment. I walk with two security members among dozens of armed men whose faces can’t be recognized,” Hadi said.
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