Saqam Event: Yemeni Presidency Fails in Confiscating Shabwa's Voice


Sat, 26-06-2021 06:12 PM, Aden

Aden (South24)

Thousands of people in Shabwa, South Yemen managed to hold a mass event on Saturday in Saqam, Nisab district despite widespread "repression" and unprecedented military deployment of pro-Yemeni presidency forces.

The event was scheduled to take place in the Abadan  in response to the STC’s calls to affirm the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement. However, the rally’s square was stormed by government military vehicles and soldiers coming from Marib, loyal to the Islah Islamic party.

Abdulhamid Al-Awlaqi, an activist from Shabwa, said in a phone call with "South24", on Saturday morning that the primary event location "destroyed and sabotaged by soldiers, mostly coming from North Yemen"

Soldiers storm Abadan event's platform at dawn today (Photo: Activists)

"4 armored vehicles, 22 military vehicles, dozens of Special Forces personnel and Ataq axis stormed the event square in Abadan", Al-Awlaqi said.

Video footage showed soldiers wearing a tribal outfit and tearing up South Yemen’s national flag as well for STC slogans and its leadership pictures.

Al-Awlaqi said that soldiers "tore and smashed everything. They looted small electrical generators brought in for lighting as well as the arrival welcoming camp which was completely looted". 

Eyewitnesses told "South24" that security forces suppressed citizens from Nisab and Ataq districts who wanted to go to "Abadan" and blocked them from passing and "set dozens of security checkpoints and barriers on the entrances and exits of Nisab district and surrounding districts".

Al-Awlqi told "South24" that security forces arrested 3 people including "photographer Hafiz Makwar".

Local authorities in Shabwa did not comment on the incidence and nor did the parity government release any statement in regards to these developments.

At this time, the STC announced "halting all forms of direct contact and communication" between its negotiating delegate in Riyadh with the government following the storm of Abadan square.

The STC confirmed in an official statement by its spokesperson Ali Al-Kathiri on Saturday the continuation of this step "until Shabwa becomes a top priority in the Riyadh Agreement and address its situation".

STC Director in Shabwa told participants that the "peace path and implementing the Riyadh Agreement is the chosen path" and called the Shabwa’s rulers to "choose their pathway".

The STC said that government forces "(Muslim Brotherhood) bombed Abadan’s surrounding mountains by tanks and artilleries on Friday evening.

Despite government "repression", people were able to organize a large demonstration in Saqam, Nisab district. Participants raised the flag of the former South Yemen state and pro-STC slogans.

Al-Jabwani told demonstrators that the "people of the province" are not weak, but they want a single, not fragmented South”.

"Today we knew you are deprived of your will", Al-Jabwani told local authorities in Shabwa. Signaling that Shabwa’s decision is no longer in the hands of the governor in Ataq.

The STC in Shabwa promised a "comprehensive upraising" in Ataq, the center of the governorate and in all districts on the 7th of July.

A statement released by the "Saqam" event said that they will continue the "popular escalation" and they back the "STC". 

The statement noted the historical fate that connects Shabwa to the remaining geography of South Yemen. The statement called "the Arab Coalition and the Riyadh Agreement sponsors to take their responsibilities to stop violations".

Popular demonstration in Saqam (Photo: Activists)

Shabwa governorate has been experiencing security chaos since the Shabwani Elite Forces left it under Saudi pressure, and government forces affiliated with the Yemeni Vice President took control of the governorate in August 2019.

Ten days ago, tribal sources told "South24" that AQAP in Shabwa kidnapped - under mysterious circumstances - 5 security officers from the investigation department in the governorate and moved them to Al-Bayda, North Yemen.

Activists from Shabwa called for the return of Shabwani Elite Forces, which made "gains" with the support of the UAE, in countering terrorism over the past year according to the US Department of State’s report in 2019.

Jacob Al-Sufyani
Photo: STC leadership in Shabwah during Saqam event, 26 Jun 2021 (Local Activists)