Hodeida vows to end weapons smuggling

Published on 7 February 2012 in News
Sadeq Al-Wesabi (author)

Sadeq Al-Wesabi

Weapons and ammunition have apparently been smuggled from Hodeida to Sana’a.

Weapons and ammunition have apparently been smuggled from Hodeida to Sana’a.

HODEIDA, Nov. 27 — Anti-regime protesters in Hodeida have been condemning the smuggling of weapons from the city’s harbor to the capital of Sana’a.

Several demonstrations were held last week, demanding the departure of the regime, that President Saleh stand trial and calling for an end to the smuggling of weapons, which they say have been used to kill protesters.

“The prevention of the smuggling of weapons from Hodeida is a national, religious and moral duty,” one of the slogans read.

Over the last months, Hodeida’s revolutionaries have held several marches and strikes, denouncing weapons smuggling from Hodeida harbor. The protests have been heavily guarded and protected by the security.

On Wednesday, the protesters vowed to end the smuggling by holding strikes in front of Hodeida harbor. They also called for Saleh to be put on trial and chanted slogans that read: “You will be tried; treacherous [Saleh]” and “Wait tyrant… justice is coming.”

According to a military source in Hodeida harbor, the regime has used cargo ships to smuggle weapons and ammunition inside containers under the pretext of transporting goods.

The source, who asked to remain anonymous, revealed that at the start of the month the regime imported Russian and American weapons from one of the Soviet countries.

The smuggling of weapons has increased during the last four months, according to the source who indicated that the containers were also heavily guarded by the Republican Guards.

“They were able to pass the first weapons shipments from Hodeida to Sana’a but later tribesmen stopped them,” the source said.

Despite spreading poverty and unemployment in the governorate, many Hodeida locals are still pro-regime.

Abul-Raqeeb Al-Ghurbani, 41, a resident from Hodeida, played down the significance of protests in the governorate.

“This revolution has disrupted locals’ interests and increased poverty,” he explained. “The aim of a revolution is to change something for the better. But our revolution has destroyed us.”

For his part, Abdulla Al-Romana, 55, one of the pro-democracy protesters said that Hodeida locals are ready to stand under the scorching sun to overthrow the regime. “We took to the streets to bring down the corrupt regime and it’s impossible to reverse our decision.

“Hodeida revolutionaries are special heroes. They have been challenging many problems and difficulties like bad weather and poverty. They really are strugglers,” he said.

On the other hand, many residents in Hodeida demand that both the regime and opposition leave.

“They don’t care about us. They only care about their interests,” said Abdul-Alem Al-Abdali, who works as a driver in Hodeida. “Both of them are corrupt. We seek a leader who stands with poor people and cares about their suffering and demands.”

According to Al-Abdali, people in Hodeida are marginalized because of their kindness and submissiveness, “but this crisis made them more aware of their rights”.

Sheikh Hussein Al-Zomi called for the Hodeida revolutionaries to continue their struggle until the departure of the regime.

During his sermon last Friday, Al-Zomi stressed the importance of achieving the main aim of the revolution: overthrowing the regime.