Amid major changes taking place in the PSOStiff security measures in Sana’a [Archives:2003/638/Local News]

June 2 2003

Yemen Times Staff
The Yemeni government tightened security measures last week at the border outlets as well as in Sana'a and other main cities in anticipation of a possible terrorist operation. The Interior Ministry found out that a terrorist act was likely to take place in Sana'a as heavy explosives were found in an area to the south of the capital. Reliable sources told the Yemen Times that heavy explosives were found in the area close to Shahran Hotel and it is expected that when some terrorist groups failed to carry out their plan, they left the explosives. The same sources also said that the security officers in al-Mahra governorate seized a car with over 150 sacks of TNT. The driver of the car said he got that amount of explosives from another vehicle outside al-Mukalla City.
The security tightening coincided with the extradition of four Yemeni al-Qaeda suspects who were captured in Saudi Arabia. Yemeni official sources said that the extradition of the suspects has been carried out according to the security treaty signed between Yemen and Saudi Arabia three years ago. The sources said that eight other suspects, including two suspected Limburg bombers, are to be handed over by the Saudi authorities to Yemen soon.
Meanwhile, high level intelligence officers have been removed from their posts last week. The change has targeted prominent officials in the Political Security Office (PSO) as Mohammed al-Surmai, first deputy director was replaced by Ahmad al-Astta. Similarly, Abdullah Moharam, second deputy director was replaced by Rajeh Hunaish.
Other changes in the PSO are expected to take place soon. Among those who were changed also is the officer of Aden Hussein al-Anisi as he was replaced by Yahya al-Ahrami. PSO directors of Hajah and Hadhramaut were also changed. Well-informed sources told the Yemen Times that these changes aim at activating the job of this important organization in the light of the new plan to fight terrorism which still represents a major threat to the Yemeni government.
It was an embarrassment to the government that ten al-Qaeda suspects involved in the operation against the USS Cole escaped from Aden prison last April. Among those are two people wanted by the US, Jamal al-Badwi and Fahd al-Qas'e. The Ministry of Interior already assigned a reward of YR 10 million to the person who would disclose their whereabouts. Some of these fugitives are believed to still hide in Aden. Security officers are seriously hunting down for them. They have arrested over ten people who are believed to have an idea about their hideouts.