Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Al Qaeda turns to kidnapping business 

By Nasser Arrabyee, 24/04/2012

Al Qaeda in Yemen has turned to kidnapping business to make money for fighting back the Yemeni troops and loyal tribesmen who now  launch what seems to be an unprecedented war with direct and indirect support from US and Saudi Arabia.

Al Qaeda demands millions and millions of dollars for releasing the  four hostages it kidnapped so far including a Swiss woman, French man and Saudi diplomat, and Yemeni high ranking army officer.

The tribal mediator  who met the Swiss woman hostage told the Weekly that Al Qaeda kidnappers want a lot of money for releasing the Swiss English teacher who was kidnapped in the middle of March from the western province of Hodeidah. Now she is somewhere in Shabwah province, about 1000 km away from where she was kidnapped.

" I met the Swiss hostage, and  I have a video clip for her talking in my mobile, she is fine," said the tribal mediator who preferred not to be named now as negations are not over yet. 

For the Swiss woman, we told the kidnappers (Al Qaeda) to reduce the amount of money a little bit. " I suggested a reasonable amount of money and sent them SMS and they replied that they will call me on April 24th,," the tribal mediator said.

"It's a matter of time, we almost agreed on everything to have the Saudi and Swiss hostages released," said the tribal mediator.

The kidnappers want ransom for the Swiss woman and ransom and other things for the Saudi diplomat.

For the Saudi diplomat, the kidnappers want nine women to be released from the Saudi prisons and they want tribal leaders from Yemen and Saudi Arabia to guarantee their release. And they want money also. 

"We are now negotiating only about the money they want as a ransom, the amount they  want is still very high, but there is  initial agreement to make the amount reasonable,  as they told me," the tribal mediator said. The mediator refused to say how much Al Qaeda want as ransom for each hostage, but hinted to millions of dollars. No negotiations yet about the French hostage, said the tribal leader from Shabwah.

The  Saudi diplomat was kidnaped from the southern coastal city of Aden late last March, and the French ICRC worker was kidnapped earlier this week from the western province of Hodeidah. And last week, Al Qaeda kidnapped a high ranking army officer from Al Baidha province in he south east of the country.  

Although the tribal mediator expected Al Qaeda to release the Saudi diplomat and the Swiss woman teacher on Tuesday April 24 after having all their conditions met, but six terrorists were killed including three leaders by a US drone attack in the same province of Shabwah shortly before or after he was talking to the Weekly on Monday, April 23.

 Ali Saeed bin Sumal, and Ibn Al Ahwal were among the six terrorists killed when  a US drone bombed a car moving in Wadi Abdan, Al Matla'a, district of Nesab of Shabwah province on Monday, April 23.

This big incident may delay the release of the Saudi and Swiss hostages who are being held in the same province of Shabwah. On Sunday April 22, the financial and logistic official of Al Qaeda in Yemen, Mohammed  Saeed Al Omdah, was killed with two others by a US drone attack  in the desert province of Mareb. Al Omdah (nicknamed  Abu Ghareeb Al Taizi)  is ranked  the 4th in the list of the most wanted Yemeni terrorists  for US. 

Just one day after killing of Al Omdah in Mareb and six others in Shabwah, the  FBI director Robert Muller  met the Yemeni President Hadi and other intelligence officials  for discussing the results of  two fruitful  drone attacks and further more cooperation in future. 

However, motorcycles seem to be the weapon in the hands of Al Qaeda in Yemen to retaliate the drone attacks. On Tuesday, April 24, the director of the intelligence in the southern province of Lahj, Abdul Qader Al Shami, was seriously injured with his son and his driver when two Al Qaeda operatives riding a motorcycle bombed his armored car which was completely burnt in Aitha area in the high way between Aden and Lahj. 

One of the attackers was injured and arrested by the bodyguards of Al Shami, according to one of the bodyguards. 

Earlier this week, a top leader of Al Qaeda said Al Qaeda would continue fighting until the "rule of God" is established. 

Fahd Al Qusu said  the new President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi is a doll and his  troops  are still killing Mujahideen.

"So,  we will not stop Jihad, until Islamic Shariah becomes the ruler," said Al Qusu in a press interview. 

Al Qusu, who is wanted for the CIA for involving in the USS Cole bombing in 2000 in Aden harbor, said that the tribesmen who are fighting them now in Lawdar are only "mercenaries". 

" It is the mercenaries of the Lawdar committees who started the war against our Mujahideen," Said Al Qusu in an obvious reference to the Anti-Al Qaeda popular committees in Lawdar, where fierce battles have been going on for about one month now. 

The Al Qaeda senior leader denied the reports about hundreds of Al Qaeda fighters were killed during the ongoing war in Lawdar over the few last weeks.

"Only 11 Mujahideen won the martyrdom, some of them are from Mujahideen of Lawdar," he said.

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