Yemen blacklists 43 opponents for pipeline blasts

Reuters News
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Posted: Jun 24, 2011 6:23 PM
Yemen blacklists 43 opponents for pipeline blasts

SANAA, June 24 (Reuters) - Yemen's Interior Ministry published the names of 43 members of the opposition it accuses of blowing up oil pipelines and attacks on power pylons, its news agency said on Friday.

The Ministry of Interior said members of the Joint Meeting Party coalition were behind the pipeline attacks in Maarib province and the attacks on pylons, causing a fuel crisis and power cuts, the Saba news agency said, listing the names on its website.

It quoted a source at the ministry as saying "the ministry has registered the names of those elements in the black list and circulates their names."

Months of protests by hundreds of thousands of Yemenis demanding that President Ali Abdullah Saleh step down after 33 years in power have taken their toll on the country's infrastructure and public services.

In March, tribe members opposed to Saleh attacked electricity pylons in the central Maarib province triggering power outages in parts of the capital Sanaa.

The same month, a blast on Yemen's main oil pipeline had stopped the flow of light Marib crude to the Aden refinery, bringing it to a halt and leading to country-wide fuel shortages.

The government had blamed the pipeline blast on tribesmen supporting opposition groups demanding Saleh's ousting. A senior official said Yemen had lost nearly $1 billion in revenues since the blast.

Earlier this month, the 150,000 barrels-per-day refinery received a 600,000-barrel shipment of crude from top oil exporter Saudi Arabia as part of a promised 3 million barrels.

The source quoted by Saba said the ministry would engage all security agencies, including the national security and the security departments of the governorates, to arrest them.

The source also said the ministry allocated a reward of 3 million Yemeni rials ($13,500) for those reporting a wanted person or provide information leading to the arrests.

The fate of Saleh, who is recovering from a surgery in Saudi Arabia after an attack on his palace on June 3, is at the center of a political crisis that has paralysed Yemen and threatened to tip it into civil war.

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Alison Williams)