Monday, April 30, 2012
Patrons of Sharia militants release 73 captured Yemeni soldiers
A provincial official said:"Al-Qaeda has released 73 soldiers they seized in the south in early March," The official was speaking in the city of Jaar which is held by the militant group Ansar Al-Sharia (Partisans of Sharia). The group is often said to be Al Qaeda linked or by this official simply Al Qaeda. This blurring of distinctions between groups is probably a deliberate tactic of Yemeni officials since the U.S. is bound to help them as long as they are fighting Al Qaeda.
The official claimed that two busloads of soldiers were driven from Jaar to Aden the main port city in the south. The official said that religious and tribal mediators had secured their release. There were rumors that they were to be executed. There is no account of what the militants were given in exchange. Perhaps there are promises that local tribes will not take part in government attempts to drive out the militants from areas they occupy.On March 4 the militants had successfully attacked an army base near Zinjibar killing 185 soldiers and capturing the 73 who are now released.
The president of Yemen Hadi recently held talks with the FBI director Robert Mueller. No doubt there will be renewed attempts to dislodge militants from areas they occupy. This will stir up more unrest in the south that already has a separatist movement as well as militant groups. For more see this article.