Tribesmen sabotage Internet cable in Shabwa [Yemen Times]
(Yemen Times Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) SHABWA, April, 27?An engineering team from the Public Telecommunication Corporation on Sunday made partial repairs to a major fiber optic Internet cable in Shabwa after it was sabotaged earlier in the day by local tribesmen, according to the corporation.
The corporation is Yemen's sole Internet service provider.
The tribesmen are demanding that the government continue paying the monthly salary of a tribal sheik whose salary was terminated at the beginning of this year after he passed away, according to Zabin Atia, a local journalist in Shabwa. He said the tribesmen want his sons to inherit his salary.
On Jan. 2, the government approved an annual budget of $11.3 million for the Tribal Affairs Authority. Tribal sheiks perform the tasks of government administrators in many parts of the country.
The corporation said the decrease in Internet speed in parts of the country on Saturday and Monday was a result of the attack on the fiber optic cable in Shabwa.
Lutfi Bashrif, the deputy head of the corporation, said that the damage sustained by the cable led to the stoppage of Internet services for mobile phones in some areas.
"The sabotaged cable is an international one. When it is cut, it has to be sent abroad to be fixed," said Mohammed Al-Thahbani, the general manager of the Internet service department at the corporation.
The marine cable connects Yemen to Oman and Egypt and extends to Hadramout, passing through Shabwa, Marib and Hodeida, according to Al-Thahbani.
Al-Thahbani said there is a subsidiary cable which is connected to the international cable and stretches to Hadramout and Hodeida through the sea, making it difficult to sabotage.
He said that residents prevented the engineering teams from repairing the cable, claiming that their demands should first be met by the government.
"We will work to change the land cable from Marib, Nihm and Shabwa because the attacks take place in these areas," he said.
According to Atia, the sabotage, which occurred in the Habban district of Shabwa, took place in an area known for being a stronghold of tribal militia.
Atia confirmed that the people accused of cutting the cable are demanding that the Tribal Affairs Authority provide the salary of their father, who died in early 2014.
"A tribal mediation committee led by Sheikh Turki Al-Khalifi intervened and permitted the engineering teams to partially repair the cable on Sunday and the process is still underway," he added.
The fiver optic cable in Marib sustained an attack last week and engineering teams have thus far been unable to fix.
Dr. Ahmed Bin Daghr, the Minister of Telecommunication and Information Technology, announced that Yemen was a signatory party to an agreement in Hong Kong on Jan. 27, 2014 to establish a 25,000 kilometer new marine cable that would connect Asia, Africa and Europe.
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