BY NY Staff
The Yemeni government has given Ansar Al-Shariah militants who are currently based in Rada’a 48 hours to hand over their foreign hostages and throw weapons aside, Al-Beida tribal sources said.
The tribal mediation committee, which includes prominent sheikhs from Rada’a, has requested that Al-Beida Governor Al-Dhahri Ahmed Al-Shadadi convince the Al-Qaeda-linked militants to abide by certain conditions.
Sources close to the tribal mediation committee have said that the governor’s first condition was that Ansar Al-Shariah hand over the three foreign kidnapping victims and put aside its weapons. The governor has also stipulated that armed tribesmen affiliated with Ansar Al-Shariah depart from the governorate within the next 36 hours (by Sunday at midnight).
In case the Ansar Al-Shariah militants fail to comply, military forces have been put on alert to launch a massive offensive against them. Tribal mediation sources have, however, stated that Abdul-Raouf Al-Thahab, brother of the Ansar Al-Shariah leader, has signaled that there have been some signs of acceptance on the question of kicking armed tribesmen with links to the militants out of the governorate.
The tribal mediation committee met with the governor of Al-Beida on Friday evening in the presence of Deputy Chief Commander General Brigadier Mohammed Al-Mogdashi, who is set to launch the military offensive in the event that the militants fail to comply.
Ansar Al-Shariah militants fled to outlying villages in Rada’a after they were effectively kicked out of Abyan by Yemen’s armed forces early last year.
The three kidnapped foreigners first found themselves the victims of a kidnapping and then of a business transaction, when they were sold by their tribal abductors to the Yemeni Al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar Al-Shariah.