Yemenity2010's Blog

Tragedy in Taiz

Posted in Blog Entry in English by yemenity2010 on 18/03/2012

– Did you hear the news from Taiz today?

I hadn’t, when I received the first message on my cellphone, from a former colleague since my time in Yemen. I was in church at the time, unable to access the internet and search for more information, but after a couple of messages back and forth, I realized something really serious had occurred at or close to the centre where I worked in 2010.

Now, reality has started to sink in. An American teacher and deputy director at  the International Training & Development Center in Taiz was shot dead today while driving to work in his car. According to news reports from CNN, BBC and Al Jazeera English, the shooters could be linked to al-Qaida.

– It’s tragic, and most of all for the people. They are the ones suffering when extreme groups try to kill the people trying to help them, said the former director at the centre, Ulf Edström, speaking to Swedish media on Sunday morning.

He was the one in charge of the institute in Taiz when I started my cultural project there, until a new team of managers took over the responsibility.

Why did this happen? Of course a lot of people are asking that question now – including me. Foreigners in Yemen can be targets for terrorists and extreme factions; that’s nothing new. But the city of Taiz was comparably calm and stable for a long time, unlike the border area with Saudi Arabia or parts of former Southern Yemen where separatists as well as militants from al-Qaida have had a growing presence. Last year when discontent with the 30-year-rule of president Saleh escalated, the second largest city of Yemen also became a battle ground. What happened now in Taiz is a tragedy for the family of the teacher, for the centre and people that have attended courses there or in other ways been impacted by it. And that’s quite a lot of people.

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