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Security incidents in Yemen, 1990-94


The list below, compiled from various sources, includes those incidents which appeared to have some political significance. By early 1994 the Socialist party claimed it had been the target of some 150 attacks, though it has not been possible to gather information on all of these. However, the list should give a fair indication of the type and variety of incidents. 


August-September: Large demonstrations in support of Iraq and against foreign military presence in Gulf.1

October: Demonstrations in Sana'a against price rises.2


January 31: Dynamite thrown at residences of Japanese and Turkish ambassadors, breaking windows; US embassy fence hit by small-arms fire. No injuries. Suspects arrested.3

February 4: Small bomb thrown on to roof of Italian embassy. Suspects arrested.4

September 10: Husayn al-Huraybi, managing director of rural development project killed and Professor Umar al-Jawi wounded in "shooting incident" in Sana'a. Condemned by GPC and YSP as an attempt to "stir up political strife".5

October 19: Riot in central Sana'a. Some property damaged and burnt. Many arrested; 135 later released for lack of evidence.6


March 3: Army colonel reported killed after shooting dead two guards at presidential palace during argument. No official confirmation.7

March 17: Mohammed Loutf Massoud, YSP cadre, assassinated in Ta'iz.8

March 21-22: Violence in Sana'a and Aden following clashes between rival northern and southern football supporters in Sana'a. Two dead, about 20 injured. Linked to agitation by Islah party.9

March 28: Police in Djibouti seize 7,000 pistols being loaded on to vessel bound for Yemen.10

March 30: Mouslah al-Shahwani, YSP cadre, shot in Sana'a.11

April 20: Saudi ambassador held hostage in his office. Released by security forces; man arrested.12

April 26: Justice Minister Abd al-Wasi'a Ahmed Sallam (YSP, former justice and waqfs minister of South Yemen) injured by gunmen who opened fire on his car in Sana'a. Suspects later arrested.13

April: Bomb explodes at home of Salim Salih Mohammed, deputy leader of YSP.14

May 16: Police arrest suspects in connection with explosion in Safia district of Sana'a, near home of prime minister Haydar Abu-Bakr al-Attas (YSP, former president of South Yemen). No casualties.15

June 14: Hashim al-Attas, brother of prime minister Haydar Abu Bakr al-Attas, assassinated by "elements hostile to the unity of Yemen" in Shihr, Hadramawt province.16

June 20: YSP member killed in police raid on the party's offices in Rada'a.17

June 21: Colonel Majed Murshid Saif (YSP central committee member and adviser to minister of defence), dies mysteriously in the streets of Sana'a. Official accounts say he ignored checkpoints and eventually died in a shoot-out at a roadblock. Witnesses quoted in Yemeni press disagree, describing it as a deliberate assassination by men in uniform.18

July 8: Masked men attack Anis Hassan Yahya (YSP, former deputy prime minister of South Yemen), outside his home in Aden. He is uninjured.19

August 20: Rocket attack on home of Yasin Sa'id Nu'man (parliamentary Speaker, YSP politburo member, former prime minister of South Yemen). Rocket hits upper story of house. No casualties.20

August 21: Two killed, 10 wounded in disturbances in Shaykh Uthman (Aden) after Friday prayers. Armed group wanted land near the Rahman Mosque to be annexed to a cemetery, but Ministry of Awqaf sold it to an "investor".21

August: Fighting between Sayyad and Fuqara tribes in Juba district of Ma'rib governorate. Government official, six security men and three Fuqara "outlaws" killed.22

September 10: Two security guards killed in bomb explosion at home of Dr Yasin Said Nu'man (parliamentary Speaker, YSP politburo member, former prime minister of South Yemen).23

September 18: Bombs explode outside homes of Abd al-Rahman al-Aqwa (GPC, deputy information minister) and Col Mohammed Abdullah Salih (Chief of Central Security and brother of the president).24

September 20: Bombs explode outside homes of Judge Abd al-Karim al-Arashi (GPC, member of presidential council and chairman of Supreme Council for Elections) and Yahya al-Arashi (GPC, minister of state for cabinet affairs). Explosion near home of Col Abd al-Rahman Hamzal. Package also explodes near GPC headquarters.25

September 23: Bomb explodes outside US embassy. No casualties.26

December 9-12: Thirteen killed, at least 48 injured during riots in Ta'izz, Sana'a, Hodeida and other northern towns. Ostensibly in protest at cost of living.27

December 18: Two southern colonels, Haytham Ali Muhsin (commander of Shalal Brigade) and Abd al-Qawi Salih al-Qahm (naval base commander) buried in Aden. Cause of deaths not reported.28

December 29: Austrian tourist and hotel worker killed in bomb explosion at Gold Mohur hotel, Aden. Second explosion in car park at Aden Movenpick hotel injures two suspected terrorists. Culprits believed to be Afghan-trained Muslim militants objecting to presence of US military in Aden to help with Somali relief operation, or perhaps to sale of alcohol and westernisation in the city's two leading hotels. Six people later arrested but escape from jail.29

December 30: Interior minister denies "groundless" newspaper reports of armed tribal gatherings at some entrances to Sana'a.30


January 9: Interior ministry announces that a man wanted in connection with the assassination of Ali Salih Abbad Muqbil (YSP politburo member) and bombings in Aden, has surrendered to the authorities.31

January 24: Canadian businessman kidnapped by al-Hadar tribe in Dhamar province. Tribe claiming return of confiscated land. Freed 19 days later after intervention by Sheikh Abdullah al-Ahmar.32

February 16: Two military policemen shot dead by MP's bodyguards.33

March 10: Bomb explodes outside British embassy.34

March 17: One-day general strike in Aden, in protest at government's failure to pay public employees for three months.35

April 9: Trade union newspaper, Sawt al-Ummal reports that soldiers on the Red Sea island of Kamaran held their commander and officers captive for 10 days in a dispute over promotions, pay and misuse of funds.36

April 14: Abd al-Rahman al-Jifri, leader of the League of the Sons of Yemen party, reports hand grenade thrown at his house. No casualties.37

April 14: Yemen Times says two southern army battalions (about 1,500 men) defected to Oman in March after government failed to pay their wages. Vice-President attempted to resolve the issue during a visit to Oman.38

April 27: General election. Seven YSP supporters and two from Islah reported killed in election incident at Hajja.39

May 7: Police officer and two bandits killed during attempt to break up two gangs of car thieves in mountainous area north of Sana'a. Four men later sentenced to death for murder.40

May 15: Five people killed in blood feud outside Aden courthouse.41

May 25: Two employees of American Hunt Oil company kidnapped. Freed four days later after troops surround their captors.42

May 27: Police teargas teachers' protest on late payment of salaries.43

July 28: One person killed and scores wounded in shootout with police attempting to confiscate smuggled cars in al-Ghaydah near the border with Oman. Rioters block main road and set tyres on fire. The police action was part of a move by the prime minister to implement national laws.44

July 17: Four men beheaded in public for murdering a man whose car they were attempting to steal.45

September 1: About 50 armed men attacked oil installation belonging to French company, Total, in East Shabwa. One guard killed, several wounded. Company announces it is suspending operations in the area.46

October 29: Vice-president's nephew shot dead outside his home in Aden. Two of the vice-president's sons escaped unhurt.47

November 15: Home of vice-president's son hit by gunfire. Aden police arrest three northern military police from barracks opposite the house.48

November 22: Major Ahmad Muhammed al-Shami, member of GPC and governor of al-Hazm district (north-east Yemen) shot dead in Sana'a. Officials blame a personal vendetta.49

November 25: American diplomat, Haynes Mahoney, abducted from his car in central Sana'a and taken to Marib, apparently at behest of a local sheikh. Negotiations by Yemeni government secure his release a few days later.50

December 11: Unidentified gunmen fire at offices of trade union newspaper, Sawt al-Ummal, in Sana'a; no casualties.51

December 17: Military police prevent prime minister (YSP) from entering Sana'a in a motorcade. Allowed to continue after phoning political leaders in the capital.52

December: Policeman and "gang member" killed in shooutout after car chase near Dhamar.53


January 4: Five members of armed forces (including at least two holding rank of major) assassinated "in mysterious circumstances" in southern province of Lahej.54

January 4-6: Demonstrations in Sana'a and Ta'izz against high prices and falling value of riyal. Many shops remain closed.55

January 3: Briton, Canadian and four Yemenis working for American company, Hunt Oil, kidnapped by tribe in Khawlan, 60 miles east of Aden.56

January 7: Abd al-Karim Saleh al-Gahmi (tribal leader and YSP member) shot dead outside his home in Sana'a. YSP statement describes the killing as political, but other YSP sources say attribute it to a tribal vendetta.57

January 28: Three French tourists kidnapped by tribe near Marib. Released two weeks later.58

February 13: Three members of Chinese road-building team kidnapped by tribe. Released about one week later.59

February 17: GPC announces assassination of two leading members from Bani al-Harith district.60

March 3: YSP official and six others killed in shootout in Ibb.61

March 8: Interior ministry announces capture of gang responsible for theft of 162 cars, and seizure of 1.25kg of heroin in a separate operation.62

March 15: Sheikh Hussein al-Ahmar, eldest son of parliamentary speaker, ambushed north of Sana'a. One bodyguard in the three-car convoy injured. Saudi press links attack to tribal dispute.63

March 28: Three Dutch engineers kidnapped by tribe. Released several months later.64

March 25: Haydar Abdullah Ghalib (YSP member) stabbed to death near Sana'a University.65

April: Shortage of petrol and bottled gas in Sana'a and other northern cities as Bakil tribe intercepts supplies. Dispute concerns merchant from Hashid tribe alleged to have bought cars from Bakil members using post-dated cheques that bounced.66

April 3: Two Chinese engineers kidnapped by tribe. Released about two weeks later.67

April 4: Ahmad Khalid Sayf (YSP official) shot dead in Najdah region of Ta'izz governorate.68

1. SWB (BBC Monitoring) 21, 22 August; 11 September, 1990.

2. SWB 30 October 1990.

3. Dow Jones, 31 January, 1991.

4. Dow Jones, 8 February, 1991.

5. SWB 12 September, 1991.

6. SWB 28 October, 1991.

7. SWB 5 March, 1992.

8. Keesings 31 May 1992

9. Keesings 31 May 1992

10. SWB 31 March, 1992.

11. Keesings 31 May, 1992

12. SWB 22, 23 April, 1992.

13. SWB 23, 30 May; Keesings 31 May 1992.

14. Wright, Jonathan: "Violence never far from surface in macho Yemen", Reuter, 7 July, 1992.

15. SWB 19 May, 1992.

16. SWB 17, 20 June, 1992.

17. Wright, Jonathan: op cit.

18. Wright, Jonathan: op cit.

19. Pugh, Deborah: "Murder attempt fuels Yemeni fear of Riyadh", Guardian, 10 July, 1992.

20. SWB 24 August, 1992.

21. SWB 25 August, 1992.

22. SWB 28 August, 1992.

23. Al-Hayat, 12 September, 1992.

24. SWB 23 September, 1992.

25. SWB 23 September; al-Sharq al-Awsat, 22 September, 1992.

26. SWB 25 September, 1992.

27. Whitaker, Brian: "Uneasy calm after Yemeni riots", Guardian, 12 December, 1992.

28. SWB 21 December, 1992.

29. Reuter, 29-31 December; AP 29-30 December, 1992. Escape: Reuter, 18 July, 1993.

30. SWB 1 January, 1993.

31. SWB 11 January, 1993.

32. Reuter, 3 February, 1993.

33. Reuter, 17 February, 1993.

34. Reuter, 10 March, 1993.

35. Reuter, 16 March, 1993.

36. Reuter, 9 April, 1993.

37. Reuter, 14 April, 1993.

38. Reuter, 14 April, 1993.

39. Reuter, 1 May, 1993.

40. Reuter, 7and 13 May, 1993.

41. Reuter, 15 May, 1993.

42. Reuter and AP, 26-29 May, 1993.

43. Reuter, 27 May, 1993.

44. AP, 29 July, 1993.

45. Reuter, 21 July, 1993.

46. Reuter, 9 September, 1993.

47. Reuter, 30 October, 1993.

48. AP, 15 November, 1993.

49. Reuter, 23 November, 1993.

50. Reuter, 26 November-2 December, 1993.

51. SWB, 13 December, 1993.

52. Reuter, 17 December, 1993.

53. Reuter, 22 December, 1993.

54. Reuter, 6 January, 1994.

55. Reuter, 5 and 6 January, 1994.

56. Reuter, 6 January, 1994.

57. Reuter, 8 January, 1994.

58. Reuter, 28 January and 12 February, 1994.

59. AP, 13 and 21 February, 1994.

60. SWB, 19 February, 1994.

61. SWB, 9 March, 1994.

62. Reuter, 10 March, 1994.

63. Reuter, 16 March, 1994.

64. Reuter, 28 March, 1994.

65. SWB, 29 March, 1994.

66. Reuter, 18 March, 1994.

67. Reuter, 3 and 15 April, 1994.

68. SWB, 8 April, 1994.


In the Yemeni politics section


In the Yemen section



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Civil Society in Yemen
The political economy of activism in modern Arabia, by Sheila Carapico. Purchase from amazon.com or www.amazon.co.uk



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Last revised on 06 August, 2015