Yemeni Army Sparks Clashes in Maarib: 17 Killed

At Least Seven Soldiers Among the Slain

by Jason Ditz, December 25, 2012

At least 17 people have been killed and 18 others wounded today after the Yemeni Army began “randomly shelling” an area in Maarib Province belonging to a tribe suspected of sabotaging an oil pipeline in the area.

The shelling sparked a fight with the tribesmen, and army sources claimed at al-Qaeda later joined in on the battle, which left seven soldiers and 10 tribesmen dead. Gunmen later killed two army officers in the capital city of Sanaa, though it is unclear if the attacks were specifically related.

The Maarib Province has been a site of repeated battles, with the military launching air strikes against the tribesmen as well as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the groups responding usually by hitting the oil pipeline.

The Ras Isa pipeline is the primary pipeline in Yemen, running from oil fields in Maarib into the Ras Isa offshore terminal in the Red Sea. It has a capacity of about 200,000 barrels per day, but has only operated intermittently over the last couple of years because of the regular fighting.

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