Monday, April 30, 2012

Kidnapped Swiss woman appeals Swiss government to free her

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 30, 2012- Abducted Swiss woman, Sylvia Abrahat, who was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants in March in western Yemen, appealed on Monday the Swiss government to free her from the captivity.
In a video posted on the Internet showed Abrahat wearing a black scarf with glasses, saying that she was kidnapped by al-Qaeda militants last month.
''I was kidnapped by al-Qaeda who treated me well, I'm asking the Swiss government to free me as fast as they can from the militants,'' Abrahat said.
In March, a Swiss woman was kidnapped in Yemen's western province of Al-Hodeida by tribesmen demanding the release of prisoners held by Yemeni authorities in the province.
The Swiss national, a language teacher, was kidnapped on March 14 in the western sea-port of Hodeida where officials admitted that a breakdown in security had allowed gangs and criminals to flourish.
Sylvia was transported by her abductors across 3 provinces to the oil-rich and restive Shabwa, where al-Qaeda militants have established yet another stronghold
Moreover, tribal sources said that the kidnapers of abducted Swiss teacher woman, Sylvia Abrahat was handed over to Al-Qaeda militants for $50,000.
Last month Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, AQAP, put new demands to release Abrahat.
The group, which belongs to Ansar al-Shaea, demanded the immediate release of Osama bin Laden's wives, along with the release of 100 prisoners in Yemeni jails with links to Al-Qaeda, and demanding a ransom of 50 million Euros
A tribal source who has been mediating with Sylvia Abrahat kidnappers said that their demands were impossible.
The militants demanded the release of numerous widows in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia jails.

Saudi to meet Yemen fuel needs until June-sources

By Jessica Donati and Humeyra Pamuk
April 30, 2012
(Reuters) - Saudi Arabia will continue to help Yemen by supplying it with refined oil products in May and June, traders said on Monday, extending a lifeline to its troubled, impoverished neighbour.
A series of attacks on Yemen's oil infrastructure has forced its main refinery to shut, and the country has become reliant on Saudi donations to meet its fuel needs.
Yemen's location on the strategically important Bab al-Mandab strait, through which millions of barrels of oil are shipped between Asia, Europe and the Americas, makes instability there a risk to global trade.
Severe fuel shortages in early 2011 led to the deaths of dozens of people in street battles across the country, helping to prompt the first oil-related donation from Saudi Arabia in June 2011.
"Political stability is worth much more for Saudi Arabia, compared to fuel," said a Gulf-based trader.
Traders expected Saudi Arabia to make monthly purchases in May and June of around 200,000 tonnes of diesel to give to Yemen, worth well over $200 million based on prices given by Yemen's oil minister in late 2011.
State oil giant Saudi Aramco is also expected to make monthly purchases of around 100,000 tonnes each of gasoline and fuel oil for delivery into Yemen.
In June 2011, an initial injection of 3 million barrels of crude from Saudi Arabia allowed Yemen's main Aden refinery to resume operating.
Supplies ran out a few months later, however, forcing the plant to shut. Yemen now relies on imports to meet virtually all of its domestic fuel needs.
Swiss-based trading houses including Trafigura and Vitol have term deals to supply Yemen with refined oil products, but volumes meet only a fraction of demand for fuel for its cars, power stations and other needs.
Saudi Arabia agreed to throw Yemen a second lifeline of about 500,000 tonnes of refined oil products in January and has since continued to provide regular shipments of fuel.
The deals for May and June will be done on the spot market, traders said, with state oil giant Saudi Aramco buying products for delivery into Yemen, rather than Saudi ports.
Islamist militants linked to al Qaeda blew up a gas pipeline in eastern Yemen last week, the third attack on the country's oil and gas facilities in a month.

Yemen: travelling from Sana’a to Aden a suicide mission

Chiara Onassis | 30 April 2012
CAIRO: The General Secretary of the Socialist Party, Yaseen Saeed Noman, officially demanded that President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi present his apologies to the south for a decade of persecution and social stigma as well as political and economic discrimination.
The demand came amid reports of renewed violence in Yemen southern territories, especially in the sea-port of Aden where the divide between north and south is felt deeply.
Residents reported that northerners are often pursued in the streets by armed men loyal to al-Harak, the Southern Secessionist Movement, beaten up and on some occasions even killed.
Travelers told that travelling from the capital, Sana’a to Aden equated now to a suicide mission, saying that militias were roaming the main roads, killing and mugging northerners in all impunity.
 “The situation is at breaking point … even the Republican Guards cannot ensure people’s safety anymore, advising all travelers to turn around and go back to the capital,” said Nawal al-Sharjabi a doctor who recently went to Aden and was almost killed when a shoot-out broke out 80 kilometers from Aden.
Noman stressed that of the central government was not prepared to make much sacrifices Yemen would risk breaking into pieces.
He emphasized that as a show of good faith Sana’a should reinstate all southern dismissed state employees and pay back up retirements and compensations.
When Sana’a integrated the south to its system, thousands of people on the government pay-roll were either dismissed or retired early, without rightful compensations.

21 al-Qaeda militants killed in Yemen's Abyan

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 30, 2012- Local news websites stated that several casualties, including two children and a woman, were killed on Monday afternoon during heavy artillery shelling in the Yemeni city of Lawder conducted by al-Qaeda militants.
''Also several civilians were wounded when al-Qaeda militants targeted the houses of residents of Lawder,'' a resident reported.
The clashes between Yemeni troops backed by tribesmen and Ansar al-Sharea, an Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda, renewed on Monday in Yemen's southern province of Abyan after the death of a senior army officer, who was murdered by al-Qaeda militants.
Furthermore, sources in Abyan province said that the artillery shelling targeting the tents of marginalization ''Akhdam'' people, west of Lawder city, wounding scores of them.
Meanwhile, fierce clashes killed at least 21 people, including 18 al-Qaeda militants, on Monday near the southern Yemeni town of Lawder, which Al-Qaeda is trying to capture.
The other dead were an army officer and two tribal volunteers aiding the military.
The source said the A-Qaeda militants were forced to retreat in the direction of Um Aen city.
Witnesses stated the fighting lasted for several hours, and that air force planes had bombed militant positions in the mountains southeast of Lawder, from which columns of smoke could be seen rising.

Yemen’s Saleh receives UN envoy

Chiara Onassis | 30 April 2012
SANA’A: Ali Abdullah Saleh received on Monday UN special envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, amidst rumors that the veteran politician was about to leave the country for the UAE then Russia.
Over the past weeks, Saleh and his successor, President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi came head to head, arguing over demotions and appointments within the armed forces.
Adamant that he would implement the GCC brokered power-transfer agreement according to his interpretation rather than that of Saleh, Hadi profoundly upset his former head of state, breaking a network he took 30 years to perfect.
Benomar famously came to Yemen to ensure that Saleh’s family members stopped interfering with the transition process, warning of severe reprisals if they did not comply and obey all presidential decrees.
Saleh criticized the coalition government and President Hadi accusing them both of being al-Islah’s puppets (Yemeni Islamic faction) by demoting all the former regime’s men while appointing Islahi militants, warning that the move stood against the sharing-power clause.
Those present at the meeting told that Benomar urged Saleh to retire gracefully from power altogether, including his party the General People’s Congress, assuring him that the international community would honor and respect his immunity.

Yemeni Government pays 259 million to free kidnapped soldiers

By Fatik al-Rodaini
SANA'A, April 30, 2012- Tribal sources reported that the Yemeni government paid a ransom of YR 259 million for Ansar al-Sharea militants to free kidnapped soldiers in Yemen's southern province of Abyan, where swaths of towns are controlled by the militant group, Ansar al-Sharia, an offshoot of al-Qaeda.
"Yemeni government paid 3 million for each soldier as well as 40 million others for the negotiation committee which formed from Tribal Sheikhs to negotiate with the militants to free about 73 Yemeni soldiers," a tribal figure confirmed.
Ansar al-Sharea, an Islamic group linked to al-Qaeda released on Saturday about 73 soldiers captured early this month by the militants.
The group released the hostages for in response to the appeals of the soldiers' families and the tribal mediation.
The militants invited on Friday reporters, mediators, human rights activists and the soldiers' relatives to the city of Jaar to hand the captives over to their families.
In a statement posted on the Internet, the group said that al-Woheshi ordered to release 73 soldiers who were captured since last March as militants of the organization attacked positions of the military around Zinjibar in Abyan.
In the statement the group for the first time revealed that al-Woheshi is the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), saying that Abu Baseer al- Woheshi is the leader of the group.
The soldiers were freed in the city of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan in a ceremony attended by top leaders of the terror network in Yemen, including military leader Qasim al-Rimi, the statement said. The soldiers left in trucks and private cars for the nearby port city of Aden.
Al-Qaeda militants had threatened to behead the captured soldiers last Monday, but it later expressed its willingness to release them without any harms.
Meanwhile, al-Qaeda still capture a Saudi diplomat, a Swiss teacher and a French aid worker after it abducted the former in the port city of Aden ant the two later from Hodieda in separate times.
Though some Yemeni analysts said that Ansar Al-Sharea is a mixture of Al-Qaeda, and other groups and factions, Yemeni authorities and officials insisted that the group is the same of Al-Qaeda.
Lately, al-Qaeda militants have suffered severe blows as the military along with local tribesmen raided attacks against its hideouts in some towns of Abyan, leaving dozens of its militants killed and wounded.