Monday, 2 April 2012

Tribesmen split over presence of Al Qaeda in Arhab, northern outskirt of Yemeni capital Sana’a

By Nasser Arrabyee,02/04/2012

Al Qaeda and defected troops and tribesmen loyal to the Islamist party, Islah, continued to attack the military camps positioned in northern and eastern outskirts of the Yemeni capital Sana’a, said a statement by tribal leaders on Monday.

“Those who repeatedly attack the military camps in Arhab and Nehm areas are the defected troops of the first armored division, Al Qaeda fighters, and a few number of mercenary tribesmen from Arhab and Nehm ,” said the statement which was sent to local media in the name of the tribal leaders of Arhab and Nehm.

Earlier in the week, a similar statement also in the name of other tribal leaders of Arhab and Nehm, was issued to deny any presence of Al Qaeda in these two areas. The statement said it was only the republican guards troops who were shelling the areas of Arhab and Nehm for about one year now only because the tribesmen in these areas supported the uprising against the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
However, on Monday another group of tribal leaders from Arhab and Nehm denied that statement as untrue and baseless saying it was only fabricated by mercenary local tribesmen loyal to Al Qaeda, and the defected general Ali Muhsen.

In this regard, local sources from Arhab said that the tribal leader Mansour Al Hanek is now leading groups of militants against a number of check points in Arhab and Nehm. Al Hanek is leading member in the Islamist party, Islah, and a number of his relatives were killed in Arhab and Zinjubar as Al Qaeda members.

The last one was the middle level leader of Al Qaeda Mohammed Al Hanek who was killed last month in Zinjubar, the capital of the southern province of Abyan.
The sources said if the militants succeed in removing and controlling the military check points, then they would start to attack the main military camps like Assama and 63 brigades, and this will enable them to control the international airport of Sana’a and all eastern and northern exits and entrances.

The sources also said that Al Qaeda and tribal militants under the leadership of Al Hanek continued shelling on Monday from the hill of Wasel to the military camps of the republican guards in Arhab, 35 km north of the airport of Sana’a.

The trenches and barricades are being belt everywhere nowadays in preparation for a big battle against the government troops in the areas of Arhab and Nehm where about 4 brigades have been positioning since early 1980s, the sources added.

The minister of defense, Mohammed Nasser Ahmed said on Sunday in the Parliament he would resign within two weeks if the security and military tension is not removed from inside and outside Sana’a.

The minister of defense has no real power as long as the army is split between the defected general Ali Muhsen and the son of the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh who leads the republican guards, the most highly trained and qualified army, which represents more than two thirds of the army.

In the southern city of Aden, Al Qaeda failed to storm the central prison of Al Mansora where Al Qaeda wanted to release a number of prisoners. The security forces foiled their attempt.

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