Yemen: Give Me Amnesty Or I'll Give You Death


January 16, 2012:  Many groups, including the northern Shia tribes and pro-al Qaeda tribesmen in the south, oppose the peace deal. In particular, they want to eliminate amnesty for president Saleh and his henchmen. Many other Yemenis oppose the amnesty but for the moment the deal stands despite the continued demonstrations. More than the amnesty, many Yemenis are against many Saleh cronies remaining in power. This will be difficult to change, as Saleh remained in power for over 30 years by making deals with many tribes and powerful individuals. These people cannot be ignored by any new government. But many Yemenis want honest and efficient government. It's difficult to find people to run that kind of government as long as tribal and family welfare are more important than the general (national) welfare. This is the foundation of the corruption that keeps the country poor and mismanaged. If Saleh and his cronies don't get their amnesty (which has been approved by the new cabinet but is not yet a law), they vow to continue fighting. That's a real threat, because the Saleh supporters represent a large number of tribes and their gunmen.

In the north, fighting between Shia and Sunni conservative (who consider Shia heretics) has left at least 30 dead in the last four days. The Shia tribesmen started the fighting by attacking a Sunni religious school (where young men are taught to hate Shia and non-Moslems in general).

The government is demanding that anti-government tribal militias leave the capital. The militias are observing the ceasefire but refuse to leave, as they expect the fighting to resume.

January 15, 2012: In southern Abyan province, a group of al Qaeda stopped a bus, took two off-duty soldiers off and "executed" them. The bodies were left on the side of the road.

In the capital, a Norwegian foreign aid worker was kidnapped. The kidnappers were from the Obeyid Marib tribe who are apparently seeking to trade the foreign aid worker for four Obeyid Marib tribesmen arrested earlier for murder.

January 14, 2012: Some 2,000 refugees returned to their homes in the Abyan Province capital of Zinjibar. Troops and al Qaeda gunmen are still fighting in Zinjibar. Most of the 100,000 residents of Zinjibar fled months ago to avoid the violence. The army fears that al Qaeda will use returning civilians as human shields. Nearly a year ago Al Qaeda put most of its available fighters (several thousand men) into holding Zinjibar, and they still control a bombed out center of town. Army troops still surround Zinjibar, with their artillery and armored vehicles.  

In central Yemen (Bayda province), some 200 al Qaeda gunmen occupied an abandoned mosque and religious school in the town of Radda. The local police did not resist, but the army was called. Radda is 170 kilometers south of the capital, and the closest al Qaeda gunmen have gotten to Sanna.

January 13, 2012:  In the southern port city of Aden, anti-government violence left four civilians and two soldiers dead.

January 11, 2012: In the south, al Qaeda gunmen ambushed some army intelligence personnel, killing one soldier and wounding five.

January 10, 2012: In the south, around Aden, gun battles left 12 Islamic terrorists and three soldiers dead.

January 9, 2012: Fighting in the southern city of Zinjibar left three soldiers and two Islamic terrorists dead.  

January 5, 2012: Fighting in the southern city of Zinjibar left four soldiers and 18 Islamic terrorists dead.

In the southern port city of Aden, five al Qaeda gunmen attacked a hotel they had criticized for serving alcohol. The five opened fire, killing two and wounding twenty. They tried to set fire to the building before being chased away by guards.

January 3, 2012: Fighting in the southern city of Zinjibar left two soldiers and nine Islamic terrorists dead.





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