Soldiers patrol near the house of Yemen's President Hadi as protesters demonstrate to demand the dismissal of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh's relatives from senior army and police positions in Sanaa July 27, 2012.  (photo by REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah)

Attack on Yemen Ministry Seen As Political Sabotage

Author: annahar

Clashes among divided military units erupted within and around the headquarters of the Yemeni Interior Ministry in the capital Sanaa. The clashes took on a political character after the transitional government has talked about a violence plan. According to a government source, the plan is designed by the previous regime to abort the Gulf-brokered settlement agreement.

SummaryPrint A surprise attack on Yemen’s Interior Ministry, where 15 were killed and 33 injured, has raised tensions between the transitional government of President Hadi and his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, An-Nahar reports. Attempts to implement the Gulf Initiative are wavering as al-Qaeda attacks continue in the south.
TranslatorJoelle El-Khoury

Fifteen people were killed and 33 were injured in the clashes. Most of the victims were members of the 1st Military Armored Division. The ministry had asked the division to interfere and free its headquarters after all efforts failed to peacefully evacuate the building after it had been taken by tribesmen and defected soldiers. The remnants of the regime have been accused of conducting offenses such as theft in the building.

Yemeni Interior Minister Abdelqader Qahtan, who represents the opposition in the transitional government, has confirmed that the attack against the headquarters was planned and “aimed to drag Yemen into chaos and conflicts.” The minister added that offenders had used different kinds of weapons, and stolen and looted contents of the minister's office.

Maj. Gen. Fadl al-Qawsi, commander of the Central Security Forces, denied claims that the central security forces had broken into the headquarters, adding that, in fact, they had protected and secured the building and obeyed the interior minister’s commands. 

These sharp clashes have reflected a major case of political conflict between the transitional government and former regime. The regime is accused of producing crises designed to abort international efforts, implement the transition period’s second phase (as set forth in the settlement agreement) and obstruct the transition of power.

The transitional government has condemned the armed attack, as well as the looting and stealing conducted at the headquarters. It warned of the negative impact the clashes would have on security and public tranquility, pointing out that some parties stand behind the attack and seek to "create chaos and hamper political process and completion of the Gulf Initiative." The government has also said it would deal with the incident with firmness and wisdom to prevent anyone from disrupting the political process and taking back the country to violence.

The government has promised to hold a meeting with President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and members of the military commission which was set up in accordance with the Gulf Initiative. The meeting is designed to “examine the consequences of the attack and take measures to contain the incident, prevent it from happening again, prosecute and hold perpetrators accountable, and form a committee of inquiry to investigate the incident and identify those who were behind it.”

While the transitional government said it supports Hadi’s efforts to thwart any plots designed to abort the political process, it urged “countries sponsoring the Gulf Initiative to take a firm stance against those who impede the initiative’s implementation and create chaos and violence.”

In response to challenges which have emerged in Yemen, President Hadi seems to deal firmly with the latest security disputes, as he ordered to establish a military committee to investigate and arrest anyone that is found to be involved in the clashes. Political circles said President Hadi intends to convene parliament and the Shura council in an extraordinary joint session to discuss the latest security developments and critical decisions.

Amid claims that a first meeting will soon be held between Hadi and his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh, to discuss the deteriorating security situation and the incident at the headquarters, Saleh’s office issued a statement denying any link between former president and the incidents at the headquarters. The statement confirmed that “General People's Congress (GPC) has a specific program and is not among other ideological parties that still operate secretly within the military and security institutions, violating the constitution and law”. The statement hoped that a solution can be found in accordance with the law and with respect to the right of all citizens, in order to spare the country further bloodshed and stop political polarization within the military and security institutions. "

On another level, four soldiers were killed and a fifth was injured in gunfire from al-Qaeda affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia. The group had carried out a surprise attack against a police station in the town of Jaar in the southern province of Abyan. The town had been previously freed from the control of militants by the military.

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