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Security Intensifies In Aden; Terror Attacks Feared
A military policeman inspects the ID of a driver in Sana'a. YO Photo/MAS
Aden, Yemen, Nov 23, 2006 – Massive security and army deployment was reported in Aden during the day and early evening Thursday, in the wake of a terrorist threat to sensitive local and foreign installations.
Lutf Al-Barati, General Director of the Coastguards, told the Yemen Observer that the intensive security measures in Aden came as a result of receiving intelligence that a terror group is planning to carry out suicide attacks on crucial installations, including the port of Aden and oil refineries.
“There’s no visible security threat,” al-Barati said. “However, we are taking pre-cautionary measures to foil any attempt to disturb security.”
Colonel Abdullah Qairan, director of Aden Security, confirmed the security actions taken in Aden city.
An informed media correspondent in Aden said the heavy security and military presence in Aden seaport prevented local businessmen from accessing the port to unload their shipments Thursday.
Security authorities reportedly shut down the Aden port in fear of al-Qaeda suicide attacks on government and foreign interests, the Associated Press reported. However, Governor Ahmed al-Kuhlani said in an earlier statement to the Observer Thursday evening that it was a routine security deployment, which has nothing to do with terrorist threats.
Moreover, an Aden intelligence officer told the Observer that the security deployment is meant to keep the city of Aden a place free of weapons. “Security is intensified in all Aden entries to stop the infiltration of small arms into Aden,” he said, on condition of anonymity. “We ask everybody whosoever to leave his arms in the checkpoints at all entries and collect them when he leaves the city, in an attempt to make Aden an ideal place without arms.”
Several units of security and army forces, as well as coastguards, are being deployed – until press time Thursday - around government institutions and foreign oil installations and port surroundings.
At a meeting with the deputy president of Canadian Nexen in Yemen earlier this month, Prime Minister Abdul-Qader Ba Jammal said that his government will provide comprehensive security around foreign oil facilities.
Security personnel were also seen at all intersections of and entries to Sana’a in the past two days. Many locals describe the security presence as a feature of the movement of top state officials or visiting leaders. Yet, the deployed unites of military police in the capital were seen helping to regulate the crazy traffic in Sana’a city, and checking the interiors of vehicles coming into the city.
Ali Al-Hasil, deputy director of security at the Aden Refinery, declined to comment on the development, saying that he is not authorized to talk to media about security procedures.
A similar answer was received from Colonel Saleh Mugally, deputy chairman of the Coastguard Authority. Minister of Interior Dr. Rashad Al-Alimi issued instructions banning security officials from commenting on any security issues whatsoever, which makes it difficult for reporters to ferret out the truth.
Nevertheless, Yemeni security officials have made some great achievements this year, by foiling two terrorist attacks on oil facilities in Marib and Hadhramout in September. They also arrested a terror cell in the capital and killed two al-Qaeda fugitives in October.
Yemen coasts vulnerable, says French commander
On a similar yet more strategic vein, Michel Arrault, Commander-in-Chief of French forces in Djibouti, said that Yemen’s lengthy coasts make the country difficult to defend. And while the country’s coast guard has made some notable progress, it still needs much work and outside assistance.
Arrault spoke at a press conference held in the French ambassador’s residence in Sana’a last Tuesday. " Yemen has long coastline, it is so difficult to control it," he said.
Arrault called on neighboring countries to cooperate with Yemen to secure its marine regions, as they are an easy way for traffickers to import and export arms and products, as well as human begins. He said that his country is ready to offer logistical support to reinforce the abilities and skills of the Yemeni coast guards.
Yemen ’s coast guards still lack a good information network, advanced training, and need further assistance and cooperation from neighboring countries and the international community, he said.
Yemen and Djibouti have a common interest in the stability of the Red Sea, as well as the Arabian Sea, he said. There is a common worry about the conflict in Somalia, and its impact on the security around the Red Sea.
The aim of Arrault’s visit is to activate signed agreements between the two countries made in 2005, and study ways to strengthen future security cooperation between the two countries, he said.
He discussed with the deputy minister of interior, Mutahar al-Masri, an action plan to enhance and support the cooperation between the two countries.
Source: Yemen Observer