Friday, 29 July 2011

Two fighting fronts in Yemen

By Nasser Arrabyee/29/07/2011

Armed opposition tribesmen tried again to seize a strategic military camp close to the Yemeni capital Sana’a international airport, said military and tribal sources on Friday. But the attack was foiled by the army, said the sources.

The failed attack of Friday came less than 24 hours after about 100 people were killed including 20 soldiers when airplanes hit thousands of opposition tribesmen storming a part of the Samaa camp of the republican guards, about 30 km north of the Sana’a airport.

The armed tribesmen from areas around the camps are led by two Islamist prominent figures from Arhab district, member of parliament Mansor Al Hanik and cleric Abdul Majid Al Zandani, who is wanted by the UN and US as a global terrorist.

Local sources from Arhab said tribal leaders are still mobilizing more fighters from other provinces like Mareb , Al Jawf, and Amran. A tribal meeting was held in Zandan, Al Zandani’s village, late Friday.

The defected general Ali Muhsen supports the tribesmen of Arhab who use artillery and missiles in their battles against the three brigades of the republican guards camps in their areas of Arhab.

Tribal sources said that Sheikh Abdul Majid Al Zandani urged over the last few weeks the tribesmen in his tribe Arhab and other areas to join the tribal fighters against the army.

A tribal mediation failed to stop the armed confrontations between the Islamist opposition and the republican guards.

A prominent tribal leader involved in the mediation said the tribesmen keep evading a truce in hope that the regime will collapse.

“The tribesmen who fight the army do not have a specific demand, every time we tell them there must be a solution or at least a truce, they ask for time for consultation and nothing happened after that,” said Tribal leader Abddul Jalil Senan who is leading the tribal mediation in Arhab.

“They have not refused mediation and they have not agreed on a truce, but after the attack on the camp of Samaa, it became clear they were only buying time,” Senan said.

The second fighting front is in the southern province of Abyan where troops and tribesmen are fighting Al Qaeda which is still occupying less than half of the city of Zinjubar.

Troops and tribesmen are surrounding the city from all directions.

One Al Qaeda operative from Mareb called Saleh Ali Faras was killed while his friend Al Mekdad Saleh Tuaiman from Mareb also was arrested when both of them clashed with the tribesmen in a check point outside Zinjubar said, tribal sources on Friday. The two men were trying to escape to their province Mareb.

About 14 tribesmen were killed by mistake in an airstrike on Al Qaeda in Wadi Hasan, Shakh Salem area east of Zinjubar, said local tribal sources late Friday. Al Qaeda fighters took the dead bodies and refused to hand them to their relatives, the sources added.

The blockade on the Zinjubar, which was held by Al Qaeda late last May, by the troops and tribesmen started last week. Al Qaeda is still controlling about half of the city.

A military source said that guerilla war of Al Qaeda and their style of using the suicide bombings against the forces delayed army and tribesmen from totally controlling the city.

“We need some time to take some technical steps to avoid the car-bombs and weaken their abilities by blockading,” the military official said on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to press.

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