By Mohammed al-Kibsi, Abdul-Aziz Oudah
Sana'a, Apr 21, 2011- A Yemeni government official source praised the efforts exerted by the ambassador of the United States to Yemen for convincing tribesmen affiliated to the Islah opposition party to stop blocking gas containers from reaching to the capital Sana’a and to other provinces from Marib province in the north of Yemen.
The capital Secretariat (Sana’a city) is witnessing a sever crisis in cooking gas as all cooking gas shops closed down in the face of people. Three months has now passed as the government and the opposition exchange mutual accusations over the causes of the gas disappearance since the beginning of the protests.
The Yemen Gas company announced Saturday importing twenty thousand tons of cooking gas from abroad, while the opposition says that they have already warned of such action because Yemen is a major liquefied gas exporter in commercial quantities and has exported 60 million tons last year to world markets.
An official statement announced that the cooking gas import is a temporary measure because subversive elements have disrupted Marib route, however the opposition “Islah party” accused in its website the national security authorities of holding the gas tankers at major entries and prevented them from entering the capital and the other governorates.
Official media said that efforts exerted by the ambassador of the United Striates of America to Yemen Gerald Feierstein during the past days resulted in convincing leaderships and military leaders that rebelled to open the road of Marib –Sana’a to facilitate transporting gas supplies to the rest of Yemeni provinces.
According to these Media elements from the JMP, especially from the Islah party, had under incitement by elders from the JMP and some military leaders who announced their rebellion against the constitutional legitimacy, had blocked the road to prevent trailers from transporting cooking gas for more than four weeks now and that caused a real crisis in providing gas for the citizens and caused them suffering in this regard.
The Yemeni government has expressed its thanking and appreciation for the efforts of the US ambassador for convincing leaderships of the JMP that are behind this act to allow the passage of gas supplies as the first that are affected are the citizens rather than the regime.
In a related issue a security source in Marib said that a JMP dominated tribe, particularly by the Islah party are disrupting the route at several points on Marib –Sana’a route and have looted and burned down some of the gas tankers to prevent them from reaching Sana’a , adding that these elements have stopped Saturday two gas tankers and burned them after threatening with death the security unit escorting them.
The commander of the two gun mounted vehicles guarding the tankers, lieutenant Ahmed al-Hafashi said that a large group of gunmen have burnt down the two gas tankers after heated arguments with the guarding force in Madghal area, when the gunmen fired at the tankers while the drivers and the guarding force personnel ran for their lives because the attackers were greater in number and were armed with heavy weapons.
The Yemeni Gas company has regretted in an official statement the continued subversive actions by outlaws who interrupt the gas tankers, especially those on their way to the capital. The company expected to distribute large amounts of cooking gas within the next two days and supply all Yemeni markets with this vital commodity pointing out that the overall daily need of the Capital Secretariat and all governorates is 80 gas tankers.
Citizens in many residential neighborhoods had cut off roads and main streets, held demonstrations and gatherings as shots were heard during some of these gatherings communities leading to security forces interventions. There were clashes in some areas such as the al- Ragas, al-Zira’a and other areas.
Cooking gas shops’ owners deny that that they are the cause of the crisis as there are different reports of those behind the crisis. The shops owners say that the Gas company has stopped supplying them for two months now, since the beginning of the youth protests, adding that the company only supplies relatives of influential tribal and areas’ leaders.
Some areas have registered the names of families living in the Capital areas to supply them with gas so as to prevent tampering with prices, however citizens say that three weeks have passed since the registration and no gas was provided with the appearance of some trucks selling the gas cylinders at YR (3700 -5000.)
A national alliance for combating natural liquefied gas’ deal and other suspicious transactions 'an entity afiliated to the Joint Meeting opposition Parties' has accused the government of stopping the cooking gas supplies from entering the capital through one of the Republican Guard’s units outside Sana’a, alleging that unit 312 of the Republican Guard has prevented 200 gas tankers from entering Sana’a.
Commenting on news from Saba news agency of the arrival of a Russian Gas vessel to Aden port, the chairman of the Executive Alliance Authority, Mohammed al-Absi said, “ We have warned, in vain, of the disastrous consequences of natural liquefied gas deal on the Yemeni people, because while the Yemeni gas is sold to Korea at $ 13 per thousand cubic feet, we import it from Russia at the world prices of $ 32.
The Yemeni Oil Minister said that the cooking gas crisis that Yemen is witnessing since the beginning of this year, is due to tribal disruption to gas tankers, adding that since his appearance at the Parliament in 2010, the interruptions to the gas route of Sana’a – Marib which supplies the capital and other governorates have escalated. He pointed out that since January of this year the Marib route North of Sana’a has seen 30 cutoffs while it has seen 80 interruptions in 2009.
Source: Yemen Observer