Written By: Elena White
Article Date: Jun 13, 2012 - 6:09:20 PM
Saudi officials enrolled the help of local tribes in the southern province of Abyan to negotiate the release of its Vice-Consul, along with tribal mediators are seeking the release of the Deputy Saudi Council Abdullah al-Khalidi, following his kidnapping in March by al-Qaeda militants.
The launch of Yemen’s “Grand Battle” against the terror group complicated progress with al-Qaeda using the vice-consul release in exchange for a truce with the armed forces. Determined to “cleanse Yemen from al-Qaeda”, President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi however refused to bow to pressure, calling for yet more troops to assault the Islamists.
Tribal sources in touch with al-Qaeda militants reported “there is an increasing fear AQAP will execute al-Khalidi” after a video-testimony posted online revealed al-Khalidi was part of an anti-AQAP intelligence operation in Yemen.
The Al-Jazeert website published a statement of one of the tribal leader, Tarek al-Fathli’s relatives, who’s leading the mediation efforts in this case, in which he said that the mediation and negotiation efforts with the kidnappers are still going in spite of the difficulties in communicating with the kidnappers due to the fierce battles in the Abyan governorate.
An insider source in Aden disclosed that there are Saudi efforts and direct communications between Saudi officials and leaderships close to Ansar Al-Sharia in Abyan in order to negotiate the release of the abducted Saudi diplomat. The source told AlJazeera.net that the Saudi Ambassadtr in Yemen met with some mediators in Aden – southern seaport - to discuss solving the Saudi deputy council crisis.
A source close to the Ansar Al-Sharia in Abyan told AlJazeera.net that al-Khalidi may have been moved to al-Huta, in the Shabwa province, where militants felt more on control.
AQAP released a video recording showing al-Khalidi on the internet last month after local media claimed the diplomat had been slain. Al-Khalidi pleaded with the Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz to save him by succumbing to the kidnappers’ demands.
Al-Khalidi went on alleging in the video recording that the Saudi consulate in Aden is responsible for detecting AQAP operatives and to pinpoint their locations to the U.S intelligence services ahead of Drones attacks.
Militant group research expert, Nabeel Al-Bakeeri, said “AQAP is attempting to benefit from al-Khalidi’s kidnapping to achieve a great political and morale goal by exchanging him for a number of AQAP captives and for huge amounts of money as ransom. “
Faris Ghanim, Managing Editor of Al-Yemen newspaper and researcher specialized in terrorism, warned the releasing of al-Khalidi’s video recording onto the internet in which he admitted to be an intelligence officer was a preface to his execution.
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