Written By: Elena White
Article Date: Jul 7, 2012 - 2:09:07 PM
Brigadier General Murad al-Awbali, the Commander of the 63rd Brigade in al-Sama’a military base, situated on the outskirt of the capital, Sana’a was kidnapped late June by a group of renegade Republican Guards.
Officials confirmed Gen. al-Awbali was snatched while on his way to a wedding alongside four other high ranking officers.
Preliminary reports established that disgruntled soldiers based in al-Sama’a would have decided to hold the general ransom in a bid to force the defense ministry into releasing their overdue salaries.
Al-Sahwa news site – mouth piece of al-Islah, a faction opposed to the former regime and all members of the Saleh family - reported on Friday that some soldiers had seen their pay suspended after they refused to crackdown on protesters back in 2011 when protesters were demanding the departure of then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
It is important to note as well that Gen. al-Awbali a close ally of Gen. Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh – Commander of the Republican Guards and son to former President Saleh – was accused by revolutionaries in 2011 of human rights violations and war crimes after he oversaw Taiz crackdown against protesters. It was Gen.
Ahmed Saleh who actually appointed him Commander of al-Sama’a after calls on Taiz for his arrest grew louder. Gen. Saleh refuted the claims made by al-Sahwa, accusing al-Islah – Yemen’s Islamic faction led by al-Ahmar clan – of having commandeered the kidnapping in a bid to seize control of al-Sama’a, a strategically important military base in the region. For the past few months, Gen.
Saleh warned that al-Qaida militants aided by “political factions and local tribes “were trying to overthrow al-Sama’a, destroying Sana’a, the capital’s best line of defense against any potential attackers or even terror threat. Since the general was kidnapped in al-Kawlan tribe’s territory, tribes from Sanhan, loyal to Gen.
Saleh kidnapped 30-50 tribesmen, depending on the reports, demanding the immediate release of Gen.
al-Awbali. Fearing that rising tribal tensions will lead to more bloodshed and potentially a tribal war as tribal leaders were bound to call on their allies to retaliate.President Abdu Rabbo Mansour Hadi instructed his Cabinet to set up a mediation committee and organize a peaceful resolution of the matter.
Under Hadi’s guidance, soldiers were promised a quick regularization of their salaries. Moreover 500 militants who were directly involve in the kidnapping of the General, all al-Islah loyalists, were enrolled in the 1st Armored Division, under the leadership of General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, himself a leading figure of the political faction.
• Yemen seizes military materiel
• Yemen: Democracy School certified as division of Defense for Children International
• Yemen’s army shells tribal areas after pipeline sabotage
• Sawa’a organization calls for Jewish involvement in Yemen’s National Dialogue
• US aircraft carrying soldiers, equipment lands in Yemen