southern province of Abyan, where the government and Saudi Arabia have been bombing al-Qaeda positions. They said they had no issues with the Yemen Army, and warned civilians not oppose al-Qaeda or its war against America.
With news emerging that the Nigerian terror suspect who tried to bomb a U.S. plane may have received instructions from al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen, this article from the Yemen Times is particularly striking.
According to correspondent Mohammed bin Sallam, al-Qaeda members took part in a large public protest [broadcast by Al-Jazeera], during which they warned people not to side with Americans, Saudis or the Yemen government. The Saudi and Yemeni governments have been assaulting suspected al-Qaeda sites in the south, where an Iranian-backed secessionist group is agitating for independence.
For the Yemen Times, correspondent Mohammed bin Sallam reports in part:
More than 15,000 protesters, including members of al-Qaeda, gathered in the Al-Mahfad district’s Al-Majanah village, which was attacked by the Yemeni Air Force last Thursday. Al-Qaeda members announced at the public protest that their war is against the United States, and not the Yemeni Army. … Abdullah Ahmad Al-Raimi, an al-Qaeda leader who is on the government’s Most Wanted List, was recognized in the crowd. After serving three years of a four-year sentence, he escaped.
Ironically, bin Sallam also writes that at the same time, opposition groups mounted a protest in Yemen’s capital and insisted that al-Qaeda isn’t present in the south:
Protesters rejected the notion that al-Qaeda existed in Abyan, which was the reasoning behind the government’s assault. … President of the National Organization for Defending Human Rights and Freedom, Mohammad Allaw, told the gathering crowd: “We suffer living in a country ruled by a government that doesn’t respect the lives of its citizens and that exists to destroy their lives with American aircraft, as occurred in Abyan. I hereby call on all free people to condemn this policy and to organize events and sit-ins to protest the killing of innocent people in the name of fighting terrorism.
By Mohammed bin Sallam
December 24, 2009
Yemen – Yemen Times – Original Article (English)
SANA’A: Human rights activists and members of parliament have gathered in front of the cabinet building to protest what they call, “unfair government behavior” and condemning the government’s military attack on Abyan last week.
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