Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Yemen: Taiz repression, fighting in the South

Violence does not falter in Yemen, where forces of President Ali Abdullah Saleh attacked and dispersed by force on Sunday night to Monday a sit-in Taiz, south of Sanaa, killing at least twenty people dead and dozens wounded, according to organizers. Tanks and armored vehicles raided at night the Liberty Square, where demonstrators camped since January to demand the departure of Mr.

Saleh. The soldiers set fire to the tents of the protesters and arrested hundreds of protesters who tried to flee the storm. According to medical sources, thirty-seven wounded who were in the field hospital set up by protesters in the square were also arrested. The fighting has claimed more than a hundred deaths throughout the country during the past week.

In addition, four Yemeni soldiers were killed and dozens others injured Sunday in an ambush near Zinjibar. This coastal town, located about fifty miles east of Aden, fell last week at the hands of Islamic militants. Air raids on positions of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) near the town gave rise Monday morning, a response to the terrorist organization during which two soldiers were killed by a rocket.

The main tribal dignitary Zinjibar, Tarek Al-Fadl said that the situation was "catastrophic" in the city, where fighting raged, adding: "The corpses littering the streets, water and electricity are cut and hospitals no longer work. " Many residents fled the city, he said. "The gunmen claim to be part of the 'Supporters of Sharia', that could be a coalition of armed groups," said Fadli, a former jihadist.

He felt a thousand the number of assailants, adding that they were mainly from the town of Jaar, they already control. Taking Zinjibar by armed men described as fighters of Al-Qaida raises questions about the sponsors of this operation when the system tries to ensure its survival. The defense ministry said the attackers, "including Afghans and Egyptians," belonged to Al Qaeda.

But the main tribal dignitary Zinjibar, Tarek Al-Fadhli, said he doubted that the gunmen, who have taken such a blow Friday without a major military camp under the control of Al Qaeda. He did not rule out that President Ali Abdullah Saleh contestéi, who refuses to resign despite public pressure, or "playing the card of Al-Qaeda" to remain in power.

The Head of State warned May 21 that al-Qaida took advantage of his departure: "If this plan by Al-Qaeda will experience a boost in Hadramout, Abyan and Shabwa to," said Saleh , which has made the fight against the network of Osama bin Laden a major asset in its relations with Washington.

"I believe that these armed men taking advantage of the president, and he uses them in turn to muddy the waters and cause U.S. intervention would change the deal," said Mr. Fadhli. The analyst Saeed Al-Janhi, an expert on Islamist movements, is not convinced of the theory of taking the city by al-Qaida.

"This is not in the method of Al-Qaeda to take control of fixed positions and stay there, especially as U.S. drones flew over the region," he said, recalling that the radical imam Anwar Al-Aulaqi, wanted by Washington, has escaped a U.S. missile strike earlier this month. He also felt that the State could be going "to play the card of Al-Qaeda to scare the local opinion and the West." Mr.

Janhi stresses that the president had already used the Islamists, including veterans of Afghanistan in its war against the secessionist southerners in 1994. Sunday, dissident officers have accused the president of having "delivered the province of Abyan armed terrorist groups" and called the army to "give them battle." AQAP, which has hideouts in mountainous Yemeni province of Abyan, Shabwa, Marib and the Djouf, is regarded by Washington as the most active branch of the Islamist.

The security experts fear qu'AQPA exploiting the situation in rallying the network beheaded by Islamist death of Osama bin Laden.

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