Initial results of Govt. campaign against bearing arms showed that over thirty AK-47 and about 12 guns have been confiscated at checkpoints around the capital Sana’a in the last two days.
The Supreme Security Committee (SSC) had agreed on this campaign to take unlicensed arms and prevent ‘manifestation of weapon’ across the country. The campaign was effective from last Saturday.
A security officer with knowledge about the first report (not yet in public domain) about the situation in capital Sana’a said that all arms confiscated so far had either official license or their bearers were soldiers in the army but weren’t in uniforms when they were arrested. In this case, the arms bearers will later get their arms back after they pledge not to carry them while off duty.
Only one case that was illegal , the officer said, was when police at a checkpoint in Hasaba district stopped on last Saturday a bunch of militias loyal to both Al Ahmar family (of Hashid confederation ) and Al Shayef (of Bakil confederation). The police had taken the militias’ arms but they were given back after police got ‘a phone call from senior security officials’.
The officer said that there were other cases in which the police didn’t deal with. Those were the widespread pick-ups loaded with heavy armed tribesmen roaming around the capital on a regular basis.
Yemen has an estimated 60 million firearms in private hands, roughly three for every citizen.
According to the latest news by the official Saba News Agency, Minister of Interior was briefed yesterday on the implementation of the campaign. It said that the campaign “aims to enhance security and stability, to maintain public order and social peace in the various governorates of the Republic through confronting all crimes and carrying and possession of weapon related issues.” The Objectives aren’t yet finished: “…and to prevent using vehicles in carrying out terrorist and subversive crimes and to reduce traffic accidents and arrest wanted people.”
Yemen has witnessed the largest security breakdown over the last two years. Over 200 of security and military officers have been assassinated. Burglary, carjacking, mugging, and kidnapping of foreigners have increased dramatically.