Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Two survivors in Yemenia crash

By Nasser Arrabyee 30/06/2009

Sana'a- A 5-yearl old child was found alive among 93 dead bodies picked up from the Indian Ocean where a Yemeni airbus plane crashed early Tuesday with 153 people on board, said Mohammed Abdul Rahman, spokesman of the Yemenia and deputy chairman of the General Authority of Yemeni Civil Aviation.

In a press conference held in Sana'a, Abdul Rahman, said that 93 dead bodies including 26 French, 54 Comoros, a Palestinian and a Canadian and the 11-member crew, were recognized.

The crew included six Yemenis, two Moroccan stewardesses, and three other stewardesses: one Indonesian, Ethiopian, and Pilipino. The Yemeni pilot was identified as Khaled Hajeb and his assistant Ali Atef and engineer Ali Salem Al Qubati.

"A survivor was found in a state of shock," said Adul Rahman, without mentioning what national he was.

Unconfirmed information says here the survivor was the captain Khaled Hajeb, who was born in the city of Aden in 1964. Hajeb, who was among the hostages in Mombai, last November, is a father of three children, two daughters and son.

About the reasons behind the accident, the spokesman for the Yemenia asked the journalists to wait for the results of the investigations.

The official said that the stricken airbus A300-310 entered into service 18 years ago.

According to well-informed sources, the airbus, which crashed early Tuesday while flying from Sana'a airport to Moroni airport in Comoros, flew seven times since Monday 29th June, 2009.

The sources said the crashed plane flew Monday from Paris with 59 passengers on board to Marseille, where it took 59 passengers. Then, it flew to Cairo to take 11 passengers, and three from Jeddah and only one passenger from Dubai.

The crash happened in the seventh flight IY626 which took off at 9:45 PM from Sana'a to Moroni with 153 passengers on board, mostly from France and Comoros. The airports officials said the plane disappeared from radars screens at 1:50 am Tuesday.

The French authorities said the Yemeni carrier had been under surveillance and that problems had been reported with the jet.

However, Mohammed Al Sumairi, deputu director of the Yemenia, said it was inspected only last month.

"The plane was inspected comprehensively on May 2nd 2009, according to the international standards," He told reporters in Sana'a.

On his part, Mohammed Omar, chairman of the syndicate of engineers of Yemenia said, "The long trip and age of the plane has nothing to do with the accident."
Omar said the bad conditions of weather were likely behind the crash.

Yemen sent a team of investigation to Moroni under the chairmanship of the The chairman of the General Authority of Civil Aviation and board chairman of the Yemenia. The Minister of transportation, Khaled Al Wazeer, is chairing a crisis cell at Saan'a international airport.

The Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh expressed condolences families of victims and to the Comoros and French Presidents on the accident.

The fleet of Yemenia, owned by the Yemeni government and Saudi government 51 %, 49 % respectively, has about 16 jets including four airbus A300-310 and six relatively news airbus and the rest are Boeings.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Who is behind kidnapping and killing Yemen's foreigners

By Nasser Arrabyee 16/06/2009

The Yemen rebels' leader, Abdul Malik Al Houthi called his supporters to stage a demonstration on Wednesday for condemning the kidnapping of nine foreigners after finding three of them dead.

"This dreadful crime concedes dangerous conspiracy against Yemen in general and Sa'ada in particular," said a statement by Al Houthi who was accused by the government of kidnapping the nine foreigners.

The governor of Sa'ada Hassan Mana'a on his part, announced Tuesday a reward of five million Yemeni Rials (25,000 US$) for any information leading to the capture of the kidnappers.

No one until now claimed responsibility for the kidnapping which happened last Friday while the nine foreigners who work in a hospital in Sa'ada were picnicking at the outskirt of the city of Sa'ada.

The three dead bodies arrived from Sa'ada Tuesday to Sana'a from where they will be handed to their respective countries.

The three dead bodies of the women were found dead with their faces mutilated Monday by shepherds in the mountainous area of Akween, Neshoor valley, district of Al Safra, Sa'ada province.

They were identified two German nurses aged 25, 27, and South Korean teacher 22.

The remaining six people, German man, 35, and his wife, 30, and their two daughters, 2, 3, and son 4, as well as a British man, 45, are still missing until late Tuesday.

There is conflicting information about their fate, and who kidnapped them. Tribesmen from Sa'ada loyal to the government exchange accusations with tribesmen loyal to Al Houthi rebels. Senior local officials in Sa'ada told me they were optimistic about the six people who are likely 'still alive' and that they were exerting all efforts to rescue them. Some local sources say two children only were found alive.

And accusation fingers also point to Al Qaeda elements who are believed to be hiding in Al Jawaf province which is relatively close to the place where the three dead bodies were found.

Further more, the kidnapping on Friday came only two days after a senior Al Qaeda operative was arrested by the government. He was identified as Hassan Hussein Bin Alwan, Saudi national, and described as Al Qaeda main financer, and one of the most dangerous elements.

The mosque speaker from Sa'ada, Hafez Al Bani, accused international organizations working in Sa'ada including the medical mission with which the nine hostages worked, of doing missionary activities and preaching for Christianity. Although he condemned their kidnapping and killing.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Yemenis in Guantanamo will be transferred to Yemen not to Saudi Arabia, officials

By Nasser Arrabyee 14/05/2009

The Yemeni government denied reports that the Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo or some of them will be transferred to Saudi Arabia.

"Yemen and United States are still discussing the issue of transferring the Yemeni detainees to Yemen in a way that will protect their rights and end their sufferings," said a statement from Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Last week, the Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed American officials as saying that a deal was being made to transfer the first group of 20 Yemeni detainees in Guantanamo to the Saudi rehabilitation centre in Riyadh.

The issue of nearly 100 Yemenis of the 239 still languishing in the notorious detention of Guantanamo, is considered to be the biggest challenge facing the Obama's decision to close the detention next January.

The Americans do not trust the ability of the Yemeni government to control the men and prevent them from getting back to fight with Al Qaeda if they are released.

Al Houthi accused of kidnapping nine foreigners

By Nasser Arrabyee/14/06/2009

The Yemeni government accused Sunday the Al Houthi rebels of kidnapping nine foreigners working in a hospital in Sa'ada, north of the country.

The Al Houthi supporters, the outlaws, have kidnapped nine foreigners working in Al Jemhori hospital, an official statement said.

Late Saturday, gunmen kidnapped a German engineer working in the hospital, along with his wife and their three children, two girls and a boy. Two German nurses, a British engineer and Korean woman who was working as teacher for the children of the foreigners, were also kidnapped.

The nine hostages were taken to Sufyan, Bani Mu'adh, and an area under the control of the Al Houthi rebels, the official statement said.

The hostages were among an international medical mission who has been working in the hospital for 35 years.

The official statement also said Al Houthi supporters had kidnapped the 22 health workers working with the same hospital last Thursday. All of them were released Friday.

The kidnapping comes within the framework of the sabotage acts being done by Al Houthi rebels with the aim of thwarting the peace efforts and reconstruction process in Sa'ada, the statement said.

Al Houthi, however, denied that his supporters were behind the kidnapping. "The kidnapping seems to be premeditated and we smell a conspiracy from it," said a short statement published by a website close to Al Houthi.

On Saturday, the government also accused the rebels' leader, Abdul Malik Al Houthi, of using the building of schools in his area to train men and women of his supporters on spreading the ideas of Al Houthi among the people.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Yemen denies AlQaeda coming from Pakistan to it

By Nasser Arrabyee/13/06/2009

Yemeni security officials denied reports that some of Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan had escaped to Yemen.

"These allegations are untrue and baseless, and Yemen is not a safe haven for such terrorists," the defense ministry website (http://www.26.sep.net/) quoted an unidentified security official as saying Saturday.

The official said that his country is exerting all efforts to combat terrorism and that it is making progress in this field.

"Yemen is supporting all regional and international efforts to combat terrorism," the official said.

He called the media to be accurate and credible and avoid the "untrue leaks" that aim to offend Yemen or to achieve some special goals of those behind them.

On Friday June12th , 2009, the New York Times quoted American officials as say they are seeing the first evidence that dozens of fighters with Al Qaeda, and a small handful of the terrorist group’s leaders, are moving to Somalia and Yemen from their principal haven in Pakistan’s tribal areas.

"In communications that are being watched carefully at the Pentagon, the White House and the Central Intelligence Agency, the terrorist groups in all three locations are now communicating more frequently, and apparently trying to coordinate their actions," the paper quoted the unidentified officials as saying.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Federal union proposed to end Yemen's unrest

By Nasser Arrabyee 09/06/2009

An opposition leader proposed establishment of a federal union system to end the increasing calls for separation of the south from the north which united in 1990.

Abdul Rahamn Al Jafrey, chairman of RAY party, said in a press conference held Monday in Sana'a that federalism will be the best system for Yemen to achieve equal citizenship based on justice in power and wealth.

Al Jafrey was the second man in the secessionist group who attempted to secede the south from the north in 1994 under the leadership of Ali Salem Al Beidh. He returned to Yemen in 2006 after a presidential pardon.

For implementing his initiative of federalism, Al Jafrey said that President Ali Abdullah Saleh must chair a conference for national dialogue attended by representatives of all groups and parties without exception. The conference should be held within two months from now, according the Al Jafrey imitative.

"Five representatives from every party, four representatives from the southern movement, three representatives from Al Houthi groups, three representatives from the opposition abroad, 10 representatives from tribal sheikhs and clerics, 10 academicians, and 10 representatives from independents and civil society must attend the conference, " Al Jafrey said in his 10-page national initiative to solve the crisis.

The conference should elect a committee to receive proposals from all parties and groups on the constitutional amendments required for achieving the federal union system within a period of three months maximum.

A national unity government chaired by President Ali Abdullah Saleh will be monitoring and supervising the implementation of what will be agreed upon in the conference of the national dialogue.

Al Jafrey said that the regime failed in administration of the merger unity and federalism will be the best solution to rescue the nation from collapse into chaos.

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Guantanamo detainee buried in home village

Guantanamo detainee buried in home village
By Nasser Arrabyee/06/06/2009

The remains of a Yemeni Guantanamo detainee was buried in his family's village at Al Wadhi in Abyan province, south of Yemen, sources close to the family said Saturday.

The remains of the 31-year-old Muhammad Ahmad Abdullah Salih, Al Hanashi, had arrived Yemen early Friday in an American plane accompanied by Khaled Al Kathairi, the political attaché at the Yemeni embassy in Washington.

Earlier, the military sources said Al Hanashi was found unresponsive inside his cell last Monday, in an apparent suicide-committing.

Al Hanashi, is the second Yemeni detainee to be handed as a dead body after Salah Al Salami. And he is the fifth suicide reported at Guantanamo Bay since the prison was opened in January 2002. Al Hanashi went to Afghanistan to fight with Taliban early 2001 and was held 2002.

"It seems that our government refuses to receive its men from Guantanamo alive, and it wants only to receive them dead," said the lawyer and human right activist, Khaled Al Ansi.

Al Ansi who is also Executive Director of the Yemeni Organization for Defending Rights and Liberties (HOOD) was skeptical about the suicide allegations of Al Hanashi.

"There is a lot of a doubt about the American allegations that this man committed suicide, because they did not investigate into the previous case until now of the Salah Al Salmi who was handed over as dead body also," He said.

The official of HOOD, the organization that has been demanding the release of the approximate 100 Yemeni detainees since 2004, held the American government responsible for the lives of the detainees.

"The American government is fully responsible for the detainees and their lives, I would only say they were either killed or pushed to kill themselves," He said.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

US not doing enough to help Yemen, official

By Nasser Arrabyee/03/06/2009

A senior Yemeni official said the American President Barack Obamam should address the question of poverty and be realistic if he wants his Cairo address to be effective.

He said also that United States is not doing enough to help Yemen fight poverty and terrorism and that it has failed to continue bargaining.

"For President Obama’s speech to be effective, it has to be realistic. He has to talk about how the United States has failed to hold up its end of the bargain with my country, and others in the Islamic world," said Abdul Kareeem Al Eryani, the political advisor of the President Saleh.

Al Eryani, former prime minister, in short remarks published in the Op-Ed of the New York Times, said, "We have helped Washington combat extremism but the United States has not done enough to help us fight poverty, the twin brother of terrorism."

The official, who is currently participating in observation of the Lebanese elections, said the jobless young people join Al Qaeda because of poverty and unemployment.

"With our oil revenues declining, Yemen has a poverty rate of 40 percent and an unemployment rate of 35 percent. This creates the danger that our young will see joining Al Qaeda as a good job opportunity." He said.

"Mr. Obama must address the question of poverty. It could one day help him, to paraphrase George W. Bush, avoid firing a $100,000 missile at a $700 tent," He added.