|03SANAA516||2003-03-18 17:51:00||SECRET||Embassy Sanaa|
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 03 SANAA 000516
1. (S/NF) Begin Summary: The Ambassador convened an
Emergency Action Committee (EAC) meeting on March 18 to
assess threat information in light of the shooting incident
at the Hunt Oil facility in Marib (ref a) and the Iraq
contingency. An uncorroborated source from an accounting
firm that works with Hunt and Nabors reported to RSO that the
shooter was a disgruntled employee who had been fired and who
was not supposed to be allowed on the oil complex. EAC
members decided to go to the MoveSafe stance immediately as a
precaution, which means that employees must limit their
travel and move in armored vehicles from residence to Embassy
(ref b). Key offices and personnel represented at the
meeting included: AMB, DCM, POL/ECON, CONS, ADMIN, PD, RSO,
ORCA, OMC, SOC YEMEN, RMO, FPD, FBI and YALI (Yemen American
Language Institute). End summary.
Update on Shootings in Marib
2. (C) Ambassador spoke by telephone with Ray Hunt, Hunt
Oil President (in the U.S.), and assured him of the Embassy's
assistance with the disposition of the Amcit Ron Horsch's
body and the injured Canadian victim. RMO spoke to the
director of the Yemen-German Hospital where the injured
Canadian is undergoing surgery at 1830 local time. He was
shot twice in the area of the liver but progress is
reportedly positive. RMO will remain in close contact with
hospital authorities to monitor his condition and offer
assistance as needed. Hunt headquarters is contacting family
members of the victims. CONS is coordinating closely with
Hunt to provide services as necessary.
3. (S) Post cannot yet determine the motive of the killer.
However, a source from an accounting firm co-located near
Hunt oil and Nabors in Marib reported to RSO that the killer,
Naji Ahmed al-Kumayn, was a disgruntled former employee,
recently fired, who was not supposed to be at the oil
complex. This source reported differing information from
that received from Hunt regarding the weapon used in this
incident, stating that it was an AK-47 and not a pistol.
FBI, FPD (acting as a force multiplier for RSO) and security
personnel are traveling to Marib to assist in the
investigation. Post expects further investigative details by
the morning of March 19. (Comment: Post urges caution in
reaching any conclusion on killer's motivation pending
results of investigation.)
4. (C) Post has received many calls from media outlets
asking for information. A press statement was released after
clearance and answers to follow-up questions have been
prepared. See paragraph 15 for text of press statement.
Iraq Contingency and Current Threat Information
5. (S/NF) Ambassador said that in light of President Bush's
speech, the change to StandFast would probably occur by
Thursday, March 20 unless circumstances warrant otherwise,
which will be discussed in another EAC meeting on March 19.
6. (S/NF) ORCA briefed on current threat information. Some
reporting was received corroborating the possibility of
random terrorist attacks unaffiliated to al-Qaeda or Iraqi
elements. It was noted that such "lone wolf" terrorists,
acting alone or with small groups, could take advantage of
the Yemeni security forces possibly being stretched thin in
an Iraq contingency responding to increased demonstrations.
ORCA said that "lone wolf" terrorists do not have the time or
resources to plan attacks and would look for targets of
opportunity. Changing routes and times and avoiding known
places where Americans congregate or popular intersections is
key to staying safe.
7. (S/NF) In light of the Marib incident of an employee
being the killer, security at the Embassy regarding FSN
access was discussed. FSNs are screened through metal
detectors both at the entrance gate and at Post One. EAC
members were not aware of any FSNs who might be angry at the
Embassy. The YALI Director stated that he would immediately
institute similar entry screening for YALI staff of all
No Immediate Request for Authorized Departure
8. (C) Ambassador asked EAC members to consider seriously
whether Post should recommend a change to authorized
departure status. There was no support for a move to
authorized departure at this time. It was decided that the
EAC would discuss the matter further after more information
is known about the Marib incident. EAC members discussed a
number of other factors, including:
-- surveying all Amcit staff to again ascertain their opinion
and whether non-essential employees and family members would
plan to leave;
-- determining what was meant by a comment made by the head
of airport security to FPD that if it was up to him he would
close the airport starting March 19;
-- examining the likelihood of incidents like Marib and Jibla
happening in Sanaa to harder targets;
-- continuing to examine tripwires;
-- assessing reaction to the start of an Iraq war.
9. (S/NF) After discussing the Marib incident, the Iraq
contingency and other threat information, EAC members decided
to go to a MoveSafe stance effective immediately after
weighing the pros and cons of such a move. During MoveSafe,
employees are directed to minimize travel on the streets of
Sanaa and required to perform essential travel in armored
vehicles only (ref b). Information on MoveSafe status was
disseminated by radio, telephone and by section heads to
those still at the Embassy.
10. (U) RSO reported that the Ministry of Interior
recommended that Americans avoid Bab al-Yemen and other
tourist areas for the time being in light of the possible
war. EAC decided to issue an immediate Warden Message
apprising Amcits of the Marib incident and including this
recommendation to avoid known areas where Americans
Other Security Issues/Measures
10. (S) The area where all vehicles undergo bomb checks in
front of the embassy was discussed as a possible easy target.
RSO will move vehicles to block sightlines to that area and
in the long term is looking into moving the sight off the
main road. In addition, section heads were encouraged to
ensure that employees did alter their time of arrival to
avoid congestion and ensure they were changing times and
routes to a degree sufficient to frustrate any surveillance
11. (S) RSO continued follow-up meetings regarding Sheraton
security to ensure proper coordination between the multiple
layers of security present at the hotel, including PSO, MOI,
hotel guards and group four (ref c).
12. (C) Embassy-affiliated Yemen-American Language School
(YALI) was discussed. It was recommended that they screen
all employees. As recommended to all Amcits, YALI plans to
lie low when the Iraq war begins and assess the situation
before returning to regular operations.
13. (C) The National Democratic Institute decided to move
their Amcit and Canadian trainers into Sanaa and move the
director to a hotel from her well-known house. NDI is now
considering having all of its temporary expats leave Yemen in
light of the Marib incident.
14. (C) The March 15 demonstrations were discussed. RSO
reported that the MOI gave him conflicting information from
that reported by the United Nations security director
regarding how the demonstration near the UN complex in Sanaa
was dispersed. The UN representative reported that shots
were fired in the air by security forces after several unruly
youths attempted to climb a vehicle with a machine gun mount.
No injuries occurred. The MOI reported, however, that shots
were fired in the air after stone throwers threatened to get
out of hand, and denied that anyone attempted to get onto a
military vehicle. DAO said that a reliable source confirmed
press reports that demonstrations in Saada on the same day
got out of control and several people were killed.
15. (U) Text of Press Statement:
The American Embassy has learned of the shooting of four
employees of Hunt Oil in Marib, Yemen.
One American citizen, a Yemeni and a Canadian were killed;
another Canadian wounded.
We condemn this violence and call on the Yemeni government to
investigate it fully.
We cannot release further information pending notification of
The Embassy will assist in dealing with the injured and
American law enforcement personnel will assist the Yemeni
government in investigating this case.