Ultimatum to fired Yemen officer |
Gulf Times - 17 April, 2012
Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has given a dismissed air force commander two days to hand over command or face a court martial, independent news website al-Masdar Online reported yesterday, quoting military sources.
Mohamed Saleh al-Ahmar, the half-brother of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, was one of several top officers dismissed earlier this month as Hadi seeks to gain full control of Yemen’s divided military.
Al-Ahmar refused to comply with the decision, and his loyalists seized control of Sanaa International Airport, closing traffic. Though the airport was reopened one day later, al-Ahmar refused to hand over command.
Yemen faces military challenges from Al Qaeda-linked militants in the south and a rebellious Shia movement in the north.
But its armed forces have been all but paralysed by a year of political discord in which different commanders lined up with former president Saleh or the opposition.
Members of Saleh’s family were appointed to many senior military positions during his 34-year rule.
Hadi’s ultimatum met with support from eight local air force commanders, according to independent news website Mareb Press.
Hadi also has the strong backing of Gulf and Western states who signed off on the Gulf peace plan under which Saleh stepped down.
“The US and the European Union have voiced their full readiness to impose sanctions against anyone attempting to hinder the Gulf deal,” said a military source quoted by al-Masdar Online, adding that “it is a last message to the former president and his relatives who endeavour to rebel against the legitimacy of the president elect.”