Saturday, March 24, 2012

Bomb attacks hit S. Yemen

SANAA, March 24 (KUNA) -- A car bomb went off in Modiyah town, Abyan Governorate, south Yemen, on Saturday.
The blast resulted in neither human nor material damage as it hit in an unpopulated area, the Yemeni Ministry of Interior said in a statement here.
Another roadside bomb exploded near the house of chief of the popular committees of the Lowdar town in Abyan the statement said, noting that the explosion left no casualties.
Meanwhile, a hand grenade was thrown at the backdoor of a government building in Rasd town, also in Abyan.
The attack resulted in minor material damage.
The statement added that gunmen shot at the electricity directorate of Hadramawt Governorate, east Yemen, from a speeding car wounding a soldier.
The security services accuse the terrorist Al-Qaeda organization of perpetrating the attacks.

Al Qaeda moves faster than new Yemeni government

By: Nasser Arrabyee
March 24, 2012
Al Qaeda in Yemen has been trying to stay a few steps ahead of the newly elected President and his bewildered and vulnerable new government in terms of controlling and expanding their network.
Since February 25, when the new President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi took the constitutional oath as a new elected president, Al  Qaeda implemented more than 10 operations against military and security forces in a number of different provinces, especially  in the southern provinces of Abyan, Al Baida  and Hudramout where its presence is more concentrated and overt.
Earlier this week in Aden, the main southern city, the secret police (intelligence) arrested a man protesting in the streets among activists demanding the separation of the south from the north.
After being arrested, the man tried to shoot the officers with a firearm he was hiding.
The officers immediately shot him dead, put his body in their car and left. The man was wanted as an Al Qaeda operative, security sources confirmed to The Weekly later that day.
Dozens of angry youths from the Al Malla area in Aden started blocking the roads and setting fire to tyres, demanding the dead body of their 'brother'.
The incident clearly proves that Al Qaeda is stationed in Aden with supporters and sympathizers who are exploiting the chaos because of the separatist sentiment on the one hand, and the general political crisis of the entire country on the other.
Al Qaeda has tried numerous times before to take control over Aden but always failed because the coastal city is considered as a " red line" by the Yemeni government and its western friends.
If Aden falls under the control of Al Qaeda, the whole south and the Gulf of Aden will be under its control. This may mean the control of the maritime roads through which and estimated 2 million barrels of oil pass every day.
" Al Qaeda is everywhere, here in Aden too, but it is not as overt as in Abyan, here it is working secretly," said  Hussein Othman, a tribal leader from Abyan who is based in Aden.
" You can also find them among those who fled the war," said Othman.
About 130,000 people from Zinjubar, the capital of Abyan, and the neighboring areas, are still away from their homes, the majority of them in the city of Aden, since May 2011, when Al Qaeda declared their areas a Taliban-style Islamic Emirates.
The 32-year old Raidan Anwar Kahtan, along with his 10-member family have been living in a secondary school in the coastal city of Aden, with about 1000 people ( known as internally displaced persons, IDPs), for nine  months, dependant on aid from charities and organizations.
Like most of the IDPs, Raidan said he is fed up of living in government buildings and very eager to return home to Zinjubar.
Last month, Raidan Kahtan decided to go to Zinjubar, which only 45 km away, to see if he could return with his family.
Raidan  Kahtan told the Ahram Weekly reporter who visited the the IDP’s centers in Aden on March 17, 2012, that two guards, a Pakistani and a Somali, prevented him from entering his house.
The partially destroyed house has become a weapons store for Al Qaeda, and the two non-Yemeni guards were safeguarding the weapons which were looted from the military camps in the areas under the control of Al Qaeda in various battles over the past few months.
" I said 'This is my house' and they said no, 'this is  a weapon store, and we are assigned to safeguard it'," said Raidan sad and angry.
"When I went to their high commander, Jallal Beleidi, who was previously my neighbor before we were displaced and whom I knew very well, and he immediately ordered the guards to let me go in my house," said Raidan.
" I was shocked to see my house full of weapons and our city filled with foreigners," he exclaimed.
Raidan decided to return to Aden and leave his city to Al Qaeda, who call themselves Ansar Al Shariah (supporters of Islamic Shariah), in an attempt to attract more young people and support from both  inside Yemen and abroad. The term Ansar Al Shariah, a seemingly "good" name, improves the image of the terrorist orientated Al Qaeda.
" I took some of my stuff, which we need here, and returned to this depressing place," said Raidan
Umm Mohammed is a mother of four residing in an IDP centre in the area of Crater, Aden.
The 38-year old woman said she tried four times to return to her house in Zinjubar after which she had become extremely fed up and depressed. The last time she went back was last February.
" Getting  killed in my house is much better than staying here indefinitely," said Umm Mohammed, who has been  in the IDP centre for about nine months, a high school full of people just like her who fled the war in the beginning. Now there is almost no war, but they cannot live with Al Qaeda.
 The zealous Taliban-style treatment by Al Qaeda toward the people of her city made Umm Mohammed change her mind about staying in her house with these “strangers who prevented from living her life as she wants.”
Every time she went out, they ask her about her 'Mahram' a male relative who  should be always with her.
Umm Mohammed, a widow, has been earning money by doing some work to support her four children, raising them and sending them to school.
"The last time I was there in February, Al Qaeda prevented me from going out with my red shoes," she said.
They proclaimed that red shoes  would attract the attention of the men, and that Umm Mohammed is violating their interpretation of Islam.
She went back to the house and took an old pair of brown shoes, but they stopped her and forced her to return home again.
" Then I decided to go barefoot, because my children were very hungry and I needed to bring some food from the market," she said.
While walking in the street of the war-ravaged city with her body completely covered in black, one of Al Qaeda men saw a toe of her foot and he started to yell at her to go home or she will be beaten.
" Then I decided to return here, this camp however bad it is, it cannot not be worse than treatment of those strange people," she told the weekly.
On Sunday March 18, 2012, Al Qaeda operatives killed an American teacher in the south central city of Taiz. Al Qaeda claimed responsibility, saying the American man was a Christian missionary.
On Friday March 16, 2012, tribesmen from the southern-eastern province of Shabwa, mostly controlled by Al Qaeda, kidnapped a Swiss woman from the west coast city of Hodeidah.
"The Swiss hostage is safe somewhere here, and the kidnappers are waiting for negotiations for her release,"  Sheikh Ali Abdul Sallam, a tribal leader  close to kidnappers, said on Tuesday.
The ministry of interior said 6 Somalians  who were fighting with Al Qaeda in Abyan were arrested.

Preparatory meeting of Yemen Friends' conference held

LONDON, March 24 (Saba) – A preparatory meeting of Yemen Friends' conference was held on Friday and stipulated to hold the coming ministerial meeting of Yemen Friends in Riyadh on 23 May 2012 and to be followed by a meeting of donors.
The meeting, which co-chaired by Yemen, Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom (UK), discussed the latest developments in the political, economic and security fields as well as the urgent needs for Yemen for the coming phase and what can be provided by Yemen friends in this regard.
Undersecretary of Planning and International Cooperation Ministry Mohammed al-Hawiri, who headed the Yemeni delegation along with Yemeni ambassador to London Abdullah al-Rahdi, talked about the country's economic needs for the coming stage and the consequences of the political crisis on Yemen economy.
"Yemen is about to issue an economic plan which would cover its need for the coming two years", the minister said.
Meanwhile, al-Rahdi valued efforts exerted by brotherly and friendly countries as well as the United Nations (UN) to assist Yemen to overcome its crisis by the signing of the Gulf initiative and its executive mechanism on 23 February 2011.
This phase including many agendas, topped by holding the conference of National dialogue, the ambassador added.
The meeting also issued a statement welcomed the progress achieved by the Yemeni government in implementing the initiative's terms and calling the international community to offer the required support for Yemeni government.

Yemen’s former President al-Hamdi could still be alive

Jawaher Asa’ad | 24 March 2012
SANA’A: Ibrahim al-Hamdi was Yemen’s third President from 1974 to 1977. Under his rule, Yemen experienced a financial boom, which even overshadowed the 1960s era of prosperity, making him a well-loved figure amongst the population, as he was perceived as a man of reforms whose ambitions were to better Yemen.
Before he was murdered in October 1977, in circumstances which have yet to be determined, since no serious investigation were ever ordered, al-Hamdi planned to end Yemen’s tribal system and Yemen’s medieval social classes by proclaiming all Yemenis as equal.
His death plunged the country into mourning as people felt al-Hamdi was a president of the people for the people.
President al-Hamdi was allegedly killed alongside his brother, Major Abdullah al-Hamdi in murky circumstances, with opponents of his rule accusing him of having conducted improper relationships with French dancers, whom were also found dead at the scene of the crime.
Questions surrounding al-Hamdi’s death came back to the surface with the revolution, with more people looking at exposing the regime’s past crimes.
As it happened, new clues were unveiled, shedding new light onto the events.
According to al-Safeer Press, sources have confirmed that Ibrahim al-Hamdi was currently being held in a Saudi prison, stressing that his death had been a cover-up for his kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
Al-Hamdi had indeed been attacked and shot several times by al-Ghashmy, who later became Yemen’s interim President and by Colonel Saleh al-Hidian, but never succumbed to his injuries, the sources said.
Rather he was banished to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
A private plane belonging to Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz, the then Minister of Defense and Head of the Saudi committee in charge of the Yemeni Affairs allegedly airlifted him back to Saudi, never to be heard from again.
Records show that none in Hamdi’s family actually saw his corpse, adding to speculation that the body buried next to that of al-Hamdi’s brother could be Saleh Al Zarnoqi, one of his loyalists.
Al-Safeer Press Agency said it was continuing its investigation.