Marib Power Station shuts down, army attempts to catch saboteurs
Saturday’s clashes resulted in several deaths on both sides, eyewitnesses told the Yemen Times on Sunday.
The number of deaths is as of yet unconfirmed.
Local news website Al-Masdar online reported that two soldiers and one suspected saboteur were killed.
This came after the Ministry of Electricity decided on Thursday to temporarily shut down Marib Gas Station, in Marib governorate east of the capital Sana’a, following twelve attacks on its infrastructure in the past few days.
The ministry said it is halting operations of the station out of fear it will be exposed to further damage due to repeated assaults. If the situation continues as it is, the generators will be destroyed. The station itself will also be destroyed, according to the ministry.
Ali Al-Hilali, the manager of the Rural Electricity Projects in Marib, told the Yemen Times on Saturday that two attacks on electricity towers had been carried out on Friday.
Specialized technical teams did their best to repair the damage resulting from the first attack.
Al-Hilali said that these attacks were due to political rifts, and that those who attacked the station have no legitimate demands.
Meanwhile, military forces launched a campaign to pursue those accused of attacking power lines.
Eyewitnesses told the Yemen Times that army and security groups arrived in the Al-Jada’an area in Marib’s Madghal district, accompanied by armored vehicles and tanks.
A source close to Marib’s governor said that many leading tribal sheiks had approved the military campaign and tribes signed a petition criminalizing anyone who attacks power lines or oil pipelines.
The Ministry of Interior accused three men from the Al-Jada’an tribe in Marib of attacking towers 244 and 245 twice on Friday. Two hours after the specialized teams repaired the damages from the first attack, a second, more destructive attack came. Military personnel have since been pursuing the perpetrators, according to the ministry.
The Ministry of Electricity mentioned that electricity lines have been attacked 33 times in 2012 alone.
Last year, the number of attacks on electricity lines amounted to 93, 52 of them on the 400-kilowatt Marib-Sana’a power line. In 2010, the same line was subject to six attacks.
People in Sana’a and other governorates are subject to frequent blackouts from the repetitive attacks on electricity infrastructure.