Map: Tribal Checkpoints in Abyan and Shabwah
Tribes often fill the gap where the state is not visible. Manning checkpoints is a way to establish local authority and provide security. In al Jawf, for example, the state’s only real presence is a handful of checkpoints along the road. Establishment of or control of checkpoints thereby makes a group the power-holder. Ansar al Sharia also managed checkpoints controlling access to cities in their “emirate.” Tribal committees stepped in to mind checkpoints after Ansar al Sharia expelled or crippled government forces in cities in Abyan and Shabwah. Some checkpoints, such as those around Lawder and Mudia, were established specifically to prevent Ansar al Sharia movement between their strongholds. Others, like the two checkpoints around Azzan, were set up with the broader goal of keeping the peace in the city after security forces withdrew and left a power vacuum.
“Four members of popular committees martyred and a fifth injured in suicide bombing in Lawder,” 26 September, June 4, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://26sep.net/news_details.php?sid=82327
“Violent clashes between tribes and al Qaida militants trying to control Batis,” al Masdar Online, June 7, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://sahafah.net/details724561.html
“Visit to Azzan Islamic Emirate...’Ansar al Sharia’ replace the state with their laws and services,” Yemen Press, April 1, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://yemen-press.com/news7934.html
“Breaking: Popular committees and tribesmen surround Ansar al Sharia in ‘Labis’ mountain east of Mudia,” Aden Now, April 12, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.aden-now.com/?p=7636
“Lawder: Suicide bomber blows himself up at tribes' checkpoint and Ansar al Sharia shell mosque in city center,” Yafa News, April 15, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://www.yafa-news.net/?p=6988
“Breaking: Killed and wounded in car bomb explosion at checkpoint west of Lawder,” Aden al Ghad, April 15, 2012 [Arabic]. Available: http://adenalghad.net/news/9892.htm