Fatik al-Rodaini | 1 April 2012
SANA’A: Yemeni tribes in north Sana’a denied on Saturday accusations of armed clashes between Yemen’s Republican Guards and suspected Al-Qaeda militants.
In a statement posted by political opponents of the General People’s Congress which is still headed by President Ali Abdullah Saleh, spokespersons confirmed that reports warning against the presence of AQAP militants in Arahab, Nehem, and Bani Jormoz villages were not accurate.
“This kind of rumors aimed to vilify the tribes which as they supported the protests against the former regime,” the statement said.
“The accusations which said that there are fighters of al-Qaeda in the area are false. The former President is only trying to scare off the international community and justify the position of his son, Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh as Head of the Republican Guards,” it read.
The Yemeni tribes said that former President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyal forces escalation of attacks is an indicative of the former regime attempts to stay in power.
The statement added that what had happened in the last few days was an attack led by the air force against tribal elements in the north as the fighters still posed a threat to the remnants of the regime.
Interestingly, Yemen Today, a TV channel owned by Ahmed Saleh aired a video featuring alleged al-Qaeda militants shooting off rockets and mortar shells onto a military base, proof it claimed, that tribes in this area were linked to the terror group, justifying a heavy military intervention on the part of the armed forces.
Last week the armed forces shelled intensively tribal posts in Arhab, some 35 km north of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a.
Heavy bombardments were also launched on tribal posts in Shara, Laboa, Bani Hormoz and al-Hojra of Arahb.
Combat troops from the Republican Guards positioned in al-Sama Mountain started an intensive shelling campaign using different kinds of heavy weapons, with analysts warning that the violence could spread out at the tribes in this area were loyal to Sheikh Sadeeq al-Ahmar, the regime’s main opponent and Saleh’s personal nemesis.