Written By: Observer Staff
Article Date: Nov 10, 2012 - 11:15:53 PM
Tariq al-Fathli, an Abyan tribal leader allied with al-Qaeda who has been under siege, returned to Aden under an army escort based on a recent agreement, said Abyan officials.
Muhammed Saleh Hadran, Abyan's Deputy Governor, confirmed that al-Fathli had returned to Aden earlier as agreed with officials to end the tension between al-Fathli and the government-allied militia.
Al-Fathli's return last week to Zinjibar angered the Popular Committees who accuse him of supporting a rival armed group of al-Qaeda. They laid siege on al-Fathli's house and government-led mediation efforts ended with al-Fathli's move to Aden to alleviate the tension.
In an earlier attack today by the Popular Committees, al-Fathli lost three of his men, including his special guards.
Citing "security procedures", Hadran said that Naser Abd Rabu al-Tahiri, Head of the Middle Military Zone, escorted al-Fathli to Aden.
So far there is no clear information on the details of the agreement. "I can't tell you any more about the agreement," Hadran said, "only that the agreement reached between al-Fathli and the [Popular] Committees stated that al-Fathli will return to Aden."
Tribal mediator Naief al-Gubari confirmed the news. Al-Gubari stated al-Fathli's move to Aden came after President Abdu Rabu Mansoor Hadi asked southern officials for an "immediate solution". Al-Gubari said that Hadi's brother Naser Mansoor, Head of the National Security Bureau in Aden, was involved in the mediation efforts and would later discuss with mediators the details of al-Fathli's fate.
Hadran, Abyan's Deputy Governor, denied Hadi's involvement in the talks.
Al-Fathli, a veteran warrior who fought in Afghanistan during the 1980s against the Soviets, has maintained good relations with al-Qaeda and has recently joined the southern separatist movement in calling for secession.
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