February 19, 2015
Sunni tribesmen, belonging to the Markha al-Alya tribe of the southern Yemeni province of Shabwa, announced today that they are closing their border with the neighboring al-Baydaa province. Situated to the west of Shabwa, al-Baydaa has been the scene of fierce battles between the Houthis and local tribesmen, who are trying to prevent the Houthis from advancing south.
In their announcement the Markha al-Alya tribe emphatically rejected the constitutional declaration of the Houthis and banned any military group from entering Shabwa. They have positioned their fighters along the border and installed sentries on the Farsha passage, the road which connects the neighboring provinces.
The tribesmen assured that they will defend their land to the death and not allow it to become a thoroughfare for Houthis and other armed groups to transport their soldiers and weapons. They are working in conjunction with the local authorities who support their mission to defend Shabwa.
Soundbite Sheikh Monser Salem al-Kabali, Tribal Leader (Man, Arabic)
"Based on the agreement among the tribe leaders, dignitaries and local authorities, we announce that we refuse the constitutional declaration made by the Houthis. We support the constitutionally legitimate authorities and will not accept any agreement outside the consensus among political powers in Yemen. Our stance regarding the Shabwa province follows that of the governor. It is guided by the governor of Shabwa as well as the security committee and the tribes in Shabwa and the regions of Hadramoot and Muhar al-Shabwa. We will stand against anyone who wants to use our province as a gate for chaos, whether they are armed militias, tribes or [any other] groups. We declare our support of the local authorities in the province in their bid to protect Shabwa borders from all directions."