New security plan for Taiz
Amir, who is also the head of the Writers and Poets Federation in Taiz, told the Yemen Times that, “No one has accused me formally of being involved in that atrocious incident. Rather it was rumors initiated by the Suhail TV channel.”
Suhail TV is owned by Hamid Al-Ahmar, a tribal chief and prominent leader in the Islamic Islah party.
“This is one of lies that Suhail [TV] has been circulating in a way that serves its narrow partisan agenda,” Amir said, adding that “I reserve my right to sue them.”
The murder of the US English teacher Joel Shrum has triggered a wave of accusations between the local administration, with a majority from the former ruling General People’s Congress Party (GPC) and the new security chief, who is a member of the Islah party.
According to a statement released by the local administration, the new security chief has stated on more than one occasion that the new security management is independent, does not recognize the local administration, and refuses to coordinate with it.
Governor of Taiz, Hamoud Khaled Al-Sufi, said “Shrum loved Yemenis, and his murder is an insult in the face of humanity.” He further warned that there are concerns that Taiz might fall to the armed militants of Ansar Al-Shariah, indicating that there are already dozens of the militants in the city.
In a statement released by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the main opposition coalition in the country, the JMP expressed its sorrow that the leadership of Taiz governorate was absent and did not assume its duties during such difficult circumstances.
Shrum’s body was moved on Friday to the capital Sana’a, en route to the USA where funeral procedures are set to take place.
The incident triggered scenes of anger and dismay among Taiz residents, as it goes against their traditional and religious principles. Last week, daily protests were held in Taiz to express solidarity with Shrum’s family and to demand that the authorities move quickly to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice.
As a result of the deterioration of security in Taiz, the local Security Committee has decided to put a new security plan into effect. Strict measures including the banning of carrying weapons in the central city, and dealing strongly and decisively with the militants are coming into effect.
The Security Committee has further approved a plan intended to regulate the movement of motorbikes, and curb the times their usage will be permitted in order to ensure that they are no longer used in carrying out terrorist operations. The gunmen who killed Shrum staged their attack from a motorbike.
As of March 21, motorbikes can only be used between 6:00 am and 6:00 pm, according to Taiz Traffic Chief, Colonel Mohammed Al-Kawati.
Al-Kawati attributed the curfew on motorbikes to their increasing usage in carrying out several assassinations, including the killing of Shrum.
Militants believed to be linked with the Ansar Al-Sharia group, who are affiliated with Al-Qaeda, are believed responsible for shooting Shrum as he was driving to work.
Al-Qaeda claimed responsibility for the attack, alleging that he was a missionary preacher.