Security threats sweep Yemen’s electoral committees ahead of tomorrow presidential election, report

Antagonism is rife as the date for the early presidential elections comes steadily closer. Some Yemenis don’t consider a sole candidate a true presidential candidate, other citizens have their own agendas to promote during times of indecision and strife, and many are disinterested in voting for an election that was engineered by the Gulf Initiative . Although the common creed seems to be a call for open dialogue, a huge wave of violence and anti-election sentiment has swept the country during the past month. The Yemen Observer got hold of a security report in the form of a time-line that gives details of incidents related to security from all over Yemen’s districts dated from Feb 6 until Feb 17.

February 6

Aden

The election committee in Aden received threats warning them to evacuate their headquarters or they will be bombed. Security was requested to take the required measures. Flyers boycotting the election were distributed throughout Aden.

 Lahj and Shabwa Province

150 people protested against the election, brandishing banners calling for secession. Banners read: “No for election no for Unity”.

Al-Mahweet province

A security vehicle responsible for guarding the election committee was looted by tribal armed men from the Hamdan district. Later it was released.

February 7

Aden

Constituencies 2 and 26 were stormed by armed men who attacked the security guards in charge, masked men seen moving between the committee members intimidated them into abandoning their post. Constituencies 18, 20, 23 and 28 received threats ordering them to leave.

Lahj:

The report said a number of constituencies were unstable due to threats by “outlaws who looted the documents and prevented the election committee from doing their job… as a result of the lack of security in the province.” Outlaws again threatened the main electoral and security committee in constituency 77, located in the Habeel Jabr area, and gave a time limit to leave the area.

Al-Baida’a:

There were some armed movements in constituencies 128, 126 and 131.

Shabwa

The electoral committee received threats and was informed that some of the Southern movement members would prevent the ballot boxes from entering the province.

Hajjah:

Dispute between tribes that would affect the election.

Al-Dalea’:

The main electoral committee was attacked by gunfire with no casualties reported.

February 8

Lahj:

Security situation unstable due to the continuous threats of armed groups and deteriorating security situation.

Shabwa:

Threats against the electoral and security committees were ongoing.

Marib :

Tribal checkpoints along the roads threatened committees.

Al-Dalea’:

Armed men shelled the electoral and security committees with gunfire. The shelling started before midnight and continued until 3 p.m.

February 9

Some of the Southern Movement groups preparing attacks against the electoral committees and conducted training for militants who plan to carry out the attacks.

Lahj:

Members of the electoral committees are received threats of the possible storming of their headquarters by militants. Shortage of security staff to secure the situation.

Abyan:

Southern Movement groups held rallies against the election and in support of the secession.

Shabwa:

Threats to the electoral committees continued and Southern Movement groups marched into the committees demanding secession and calling for boycotting election.

Hadramout:

Protesters opposing the election attempted to storm the election committees in constituency 145.

Al-Dalea’:

Armed protesters arrived in the morning at the headquarters to attack it. They clashed with security forces until noon.

February 10

Aden:

A group of youths attacked the security and electoral committees in constituency 29.

Lahj:

Threats to security and electoral committees ongoing.

Abyn:

Armed groups set up checkpoints in constituency 119 and refused the committees entry.

Al-Baida’a:

Armed groups mobile in different districts, threatened the committees’ work.

Raima:

A group of youth tore flyers off the media campaign in constituency 223. They also tried to assault campaign staff.

Al-Dalea’:

The province witnessed highwaymen in some of the areas.

February 11:

Aden:

Southern Movement groups are continued their provocations of committees and staff members received threats via mobile phones to vacate.

Lahj:

Security situation unstable as usual and constituency 75 expected to be attacked anytime.

Abyan:

Mediation efforts reached with militants and an agreement to let the committees in.

Sana’a:

An armed party attacked the head of the supervising committee and looted his car. Reasons not stated.

In Bani Hushaish district, armed men loyal to a parliamentary member attacked the head of the electoral committee and detained him with his car in protest of the oil shortage. The committee staff was then freed after tribal mediation.

Al-Dalea’:

Main electoral headquarter, which contains all electoral-related documents, did not have any security staff for protection.

February 12:

Aden

A group attacked the main electoral committee in constituency 27, where they planted the secessionist’s flag. Gunfire ensued. In constituency 28 two people gave the main electoral committee a time 12-hour limit to leave, which was followed five hours later by a demonstrator demanding a halt to the committee’s work and they are in the headquarters up until 10h30 p.m.

Taiz:

A man fired shots at constituency 60 at 10 a.m. but was injured when security fired back. The man attempted to provoke the committee the previous day for unknown reasons.

Lahj:

Continuous instability as committees repeatedly attacked.

Shabwa:

The main electoral committee received a letter warning against sending sub-committees to districts.

Sana’a:

Locals in Bilad al-Roos asked the committee to leave in protest against the election but later reached an agreement through social mediation .

In Bani Hushaish, a tribal sheikh attacked a committee member and took his car. The sheikh actions were in protest against the salary suspension of his sons who are security members of the Ministry of Interior.

February 13:

Aden:

A Southern Movement group threatened to storm the supervising committee if it did not depart within 24 hours. The group, parading secession banners were with an armed group, trying to break through the main gate of the committee, but security intercepted them.

The main electoral committee, constituency 21, was stoned by enraged youths opposing the election.

A group of 200-300 people tried to storm the main electoral committee at constituency 23, but security managed to thwart their attempt.

The main electoral committee in constituency 24 and 27 was attacked by gunmen. No casualties reported. Constituency 28 has become a target of gunfire by the Southern Movement group.

Lahj:

Instability prevalent in most of the constituencies due to continued threats for committees to leave.

Abyan:

Southern Movement groups set up checkpoints in areas of constituency 120 to prevent the electoral committees from entering.

Al-Baida’a:

Main electoral committee in constituency 124 was attacked by gunmen with no casualties reported. The security situation in this constituency and in some areas is precarious.

February 14:

Sana’a:

Some 40 people gathered around constituency 6 in al-Thawra district of al-Hasaba to prevent the committee from continuing their work. Security dealt with the protesters and convinced them to leave.

Aden:

Headquarters of the main electoral committee, constituency 21, was attacked by an explosive which detonated before the suicide bomber could advance any further. The bomber, aged 29, was identified to be from Al-Dalea’ province.

Staff members of constituency 21 were cautioned  again by Southern Movement groups who threatened to go to the staff members’ home. Constituency 23 was closed by southern movement groups.

Constituency 28 was attacked by a stun grenade. Security forces exchanged gunfire with armed groups who tried to storm constituency 29. Clashes lasted four hours.

Lahj:

The supervising committee was attacked by an RPG. Security situation deteriorating steadily.

Shabwa:

Checkpoints set up by highwaymen in some districts.

Al-Mahweet:

Locals wrote slogans in protest against the election

Hajjah:

Some districts witnessing tribal disputes and a mercurial security situation which could affect the election process.

Amran:

Houthis kidnapped sub-committee staff in constituency 280. They also kidnapped a local council member.

February 15:

Aden:

Security situation deteriorating in constituencies 25 and 26. In constituency 20 a Southern Movement leader persisted in threatening committee staff members. Constituency 22 was attacked by a stun grenade at dawn. Headquarters of a dozen committees are being replaced.

Lahj:

Instability continued due to the Southern Movement threats. Constituency 72 was attacked by gunfire which injured a security member.

Abyan:

Armed groups of the Southern Movement and other militant groups set up check points and prepared to attack constituency 120

Al-Baida’a:

Tribal feuds are affecting constituency 131 and 132, which required moving committees somewhere else.

Head of supervising committee and other two key officials in addition to some officers were killed by armed groups. Other areas are witnessing movement of armed groups as well.

Sana’a:

Armed Houthi groups in constituency 217 of Bani Matar district were chanting slogans against the election.

Marib:

Two suicide bombers of al-Qaeda detonated themselves in a car near constituency 278, which killed a soldier and injured three others. Attack was not related to boycotting election.

Al-Dalea’:

Southern Movement groups attacked sub-committees attending training courses. Groups attacked some staff members and looted their belongings. The province’s headquarters was attacked by gunfire.

Sa’ada:

Committee members were prevented from training a women committee, tearing of flyers, and chanting of slogans opposing the election.

February 16:

Lahj:

Volatility continued. Heavy gunfire targeted the supervising committee which lasted for hours. Attacks are very possible.

Shabwa:

Southern Movement groups closed the electoral committee and chanted slogans against the election. Security stoned by protesters. They did not let electoral-related documents out for sub-committees.

Hadramout:

Southern Movement groups rallied at constituencies 149, 151, 153 and 154 against the election.

Raima:

Constituency 224 was attacked under gunfire by unknown source.

Sa’ada:

A female committee was prevented from working by Houthis.

Amran:

Houthis posted banners in favor of boycotting election in constituency 282.

Al-Dalea’:

Sub-committees’ members in constituency 298 were attacked by armed groups who looted belongings. A Southern Movement group organized a rally of 400 people in protest of election.

February 17:

Al-Baida’a:

Instability across the province amid the killing of an al-Qaeda leader. Movements of sub-committees are limited as militants are preparing suicide attacks against them in retaliation.

Shabwa:

Instability increased across the province, possibly causing the prevention of letting ballot boxes in.

Hadramout:

Hundreds of Southern Movement rallies across main areas called for boycotting election. Flyers are distributed in mosques discouraging people from going to polls.

Sa’ada:

Houthis are organizing anti-election rallies and calling for a bigger one scheduled to take place on the election day, February 21.

Al-Dalea’:

Instability persists in constituencies 296, 297 and 298.

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