Right... things have been calm these past few days in town. A hundred or so tribal representatives/sheikhs marched past the army to the Governor's Office yesterday and delivered this letter (see above) for His Majesty. The letter was signed by "All Sheikhs & Leaders & Thinkers of Dhofar". In the letter they ask His Majesty to withdraw the army and to release all the hundreds of prisoners. They in return would calm the people of Dhofar. The governor promised to deliver the letter (which was 90% praise, 10% substance). We'll see what happens.
In the meantime, hundreds gather outside the prison everyday (mostly families and friends of those inside). Yesterday there was a lot of commotion because evidently rumors were flying around that the prisoners would be transferred to a prison facility outside of Salalah closer to Thumrait (in the desert). The families were furious so they sat outside the prison all day surrounded by tanks and army. Then, there were rumors from inside the prison (our prisoners still have their cell phones) that the army were trying to break up the group. At the moment, the recent prisoners are occupying huge tents on prison grounds and are sticking together as a group. Last night it seemed like they were almost being forced into cells that can accomodate up to 15 people, but they refused. Rumor had it they were being beaten up, so the group of supporters outside the prison demanded to be let in to check up on the prisoners and believe it or not they were. A small group of sheikhs were let into the prison to make sure the prisoners were ok and not being abused. According to a guy who went in, they are fine.
As for central Salalah, it looks like the army are slowly withdrawing. Al Nahdah street is now open and not lined with tanks. You can now access the area around the governor's office without going through 100000 checkpoints. Number of soldiers has decreased significantely over the past 24 hours. I wonder what it means ....
Tomorrow (May 18th) is the trial for some of the Sohar conspirators as far as I know. Some tell me there will be huge protests around the country tomorrow morning. We still have not heard from the 12 chief protests speakers who were taken to Muscat.
Tension in Salalah? Yes. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. Note (Oh, and it rained heavily this morning again. Hooray)