Yemen: The Men Who Know Too Much


August 20, 2010: The government revealed that al Qaeda leader Hezam Mujali has surrendered. He had escaped from a Yemen prison four years ago. Apparently, several al Qaeda leaders have surrendered in the last month or so, but the government kept quiet about it. This was apparently so that information provided by the surrendered terrorist could be exploited before his associates knew who had surrendered and was talking. American intelligence and special operations troops are helping the Yemenis track and capture or kill al Qaeda members. The U.S. has aircraft and UAVs that can track al Qaeda activity via electronic eavesdropping and vidcams. The U.S. also has warships in the area armed with cruise missiles and UAVs equipped with Hellfire missiles to attack al Qaeda targets Yemeni troops cannot get to (or get to in time). This intel assistance, and Yemeni security forces following up on it, has put a lot of pressure on al Qaeda leaders, and made it difficult to maintain safe houses and storage locations for weapons.  

Qatar has arranged for Yemeni officials to meet with Shia rebel leaders from north Yemen, to revive a 2007 peace deal that Qatar had brokered.

So far this year, in the north, over 60 civilians have been killed or wounded by mines and roadside bombs used by rebels to attack soldiers and police. The security troops often avoid these weapons, then civilians come by and get hurt.

August 19, 2010: In the southern city of Abyan, gunmen attacked an army patrol in a market place, killing two soldiers and wounding three. The troops returned fire and reinforcements soon arrived. Several of the attackers were captured.

August 18, 2010: In the south, two attacks (with grenade and bomb) left eight policemen and a civilian wounded. Elsewhere in the south, an arms dealer died when a landmine he was handling went off, also wounding four members of his family.

August 17, 2010:  Four more Yemeni fishing boats were raided by the Eritrean coast guard. This sort of theft has been going on for at least years. About a hundred Yemeni fishing boats a year have been plundered, or stolen, by Eritrean coast guardsmen. This has put nearly 4,000 Yemeni fishermen out of work. The Eritreans claim that they only go after Yemeni boats that enter Eritrean waters, but Yemeni fishermen deny this. There is a lot of evidence that many of the Yemeni boats were indeed robbed on the high seas. The usual drill is for the Eritreans to seize several boats, rob the boats and fishermen of any valuables, and then put all the Yemenis on one boat and send them back to Yemen.

In the southern province of Abyan, gunmen attacked a rural jail and freed an al Qaeda member. Elsewhere in the south, three people collecting scrap at the former site of an al Qaeda camp were killed when an unexploded bomb they found, went off.

August 16, 2010: In the southern province of Abyan, al Qaeda killed an army intelligence officer. These intelligence officers are an important source of information on what goes on in the countryside. The intel officers have contacts in tribal and town leadership. The locals often provide information on the activity of al Qaeda, and thus the intelligence officers have become a target of al Qaeda death squads.

August 15, 2010:  In the south, police arrested ten men for belonging to a death squad that sought out and killed army intelligence officers. This crew is known to have killed one such man.





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