CAIRO Ñ Yemen has approved a plan for a significant increase to its
security agencies as part of an effort to battle Islamic insurgency groups.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said the government will allocate
12,000 police and other law enforcement officers to the nation's security
forces. Saleh said the increase was one recommendation by the Yemeni Defense
Council, which issued a report over the weekend on the need to restructure
and improve national security.
Under the council's plan approved by Saleh, Yemen would increase its
security budget more than five-fold in 2003. Officials said the Interior
Ministry budget would be increased from 5 billion Yemeni riyals [$28.2
million] in fiscal 2002 to 27 billion riyals [$152.5 million] in 2003, Middle East Newsline reported. The
increase is expected to stem from U.S. military aid to Sanaa.
Officials said the government plans to deploy the additional security
forces around Yemen over the next month. Yemen has scheduled parliamentary
elections on April 27.
Yemen's security plan also calls for the establishment of 260
administrative centers throughout the country. Yemen would be divided into
21 governorates, and under the first stage of the plan the government would
establish 170 security centers.
Officials said that so far most of the Yemeni efforts have been focused
on imposing order on provinces that border Saudi Arabia, long been used by
Islamic insurgents linked to Al Qaida as well as arms and drug smugglers.
The provinces include that of Maareb and Jawf.