Massive Arrest Campaign Against Arab-Afghans [Archives:2001/39/Front Page]

September 24 2001

The Yemeni security authorities have launched a massive arrest campaign, at the request of Washington, against the Islamic groups in Yemen with the view of getting information on their relations with the Arab Afghans or any extremist Islamic groups.
A senior official source told the Yemen Times that the Yemeni authorities had detained dozens of people at the beginning of this week after suspecting that they might have relations with Osama bin Laden, accused by Washington to be the prime suspect of the terrorist attacks carried out in New York and Washington on September 11, 2001.
On the other hand, Yemen has taken precautionary security measures at the request of the USA, which called on it to cooperate in investigating the attacks by detaining dozens of people and closely monitoring persons coming from or going to Afghanistan.
An officer of the Yemeni police confirmed that the Yemeni authorities have started, since the beginning of last week, enforcing strict measures at Yemeni airports, sea and land outlets, adding that firm instructions have been given to them to arrest any person suspected.
The same source, who requested anonymity, further added that these measures came within a campaign to enhance the state of security in the country by fighting terrorism within the context of the policies Yemen has been adopting for combating terrorism, indicating that the Yemeni authorities carried out a campaign against the so-called Arab-Afghans. Within the same context the source said that Yemen has deported more than 14,000 people who illegally entered the country. “The campaign included the deportation of thousands of Arabs from Egypt, Algeria, Sudan, Libya, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan,” the source said. Similarly, the Yemeni militants who fought in Afghanistan were reintegrated and everyone suspected of taking part in any bombing incidents were tracked down. The source particularly mentioned the so-called Islamic Aden-Abyan Army, headed by Abubakar al-Mihthar, which held captive a group of 16 tourists on December, 1998, leading to the murder of 4 tourists and the arrest of the group’s members after the intervention of the security forces. Al-Mihthar was executed on October, 2000 following his trial in Sana’a.
It is obvious that the Yemeni authorities are not concerned about carrying out of any military attack against it by the US within the latter’s campaign against terrorism.
Abu Bakar al-Qirbi, Yemen Foreign Minister, in a press conference ruled out the possibility of carrying out any attack against Yemen. Al-Qirbi noted that Yemen is far from any accusations or suspicions, adding that the Americans are surprised with the news reporting such attacks. In the meanwhile, eight Yemeni opposition parties expressed their deep regret about the attacks carried out against the US, and at the same time, condemned any global alliance that does not rely on a clear definition of terrorism. The Yemeni Socialist Part and the Islah Party called for differentiating between the terrorism of individuals, groups and states, and the struggle of nations against oppression and occupation. The Yemeni opposition parties called on the US to adhere to international laws, respect human rights, and not to adopt a double standard in tackling international issues, adding that the standing of the US can not be achieved by depending merely on arms.