Written By: Shuaib M. al-Mosawa
Article Date: Jun 14, 2012 - 10:16:00 PM
A senior officer at the Defense Ministry said that President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi recruited 20 thousand soldiers of Islamist background, including from the al-Eman University, accused by the US to be a breeding ground for terrorists.
Brigadier Abdullah al-Kabodi, Head of the Financial Department at the Defense Ministry, said the recent recruitment of the soldiers was based on a request made by defected general, Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, who commands the First Armored Division based in the capital of Sana’a. The recruitment came into effect two months ago, al-Kabodi said.
Kabodi spoke to the Yemen Observer, in an extensive interview featured on page 8, and expanded upon the subject of the siege on his house perpetrated by the defected military led by defected general Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar.
A leaked official document had suggested that the soldiers were from the defected personnel. When asked who those recruited are, al-Kabodi said: “Based on the Division’s request, these people comprise those used [by the defected General] in [Change] Square’s demonstrations, people from al-Eman University, and other Brotherhood Movement’s groups, which all represented a certain partisan group.”
Almost all Islamist groups have engaged in fighting with government troops in some parts of the country amid the political turmoil since the anti-government protest broke out in early 2011.
General al-Ahmar has maintained heated relations with Islamists who came back to Yemen after fighting alongside Americans against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan.
Next to al-Ahmar Division lays al-Eman University, chaired by Abdulmajeed al-Zindani whom the US accused of al-Qaeda linked activities, a leading Islah Party member, Zindani was designated by the US Treasury Department as “a Globally Designated Terrorist” in 2002. “
“The U.S. has credible evidence that al-Zindani, a Yemeni national, supports designated terrorists and terrorist organizations.” according to a February 2004 press release by the U.S. Treasury Department.
The press release said that al-Zindani “has a long history of working with bin Laden, notably serving as one of his spiritual leaders. In this leadership capacity, he has been able to influence and support many terrorist causes, including actively recruiting for al-Qaeda training camps.”
• Offensive against militants drives US drone campaign, tribes claim
• Family to hand over militants should drone campaign cease
• Government says Al Qaeda deputy amir dead, experts skeptical