Yemen to Crack Down on al-Qaida Cells [Archives:2001/50/Local News]
The Yemeni police are trying to hunt two or three important tribal sheikhs in Marib accused of having links with Usama bin Laden’s al-Qaida network.
Sources here said the USA requested the arrest of these sheikhs during President Saleh’s visit to the US last month.
The President said last Sunday in his meeting with Supreme Defense Council members that he had agreed with President Bush to trace and arrest those people.
Sources said the sheikhs, believed to run a cell of al-Qaida in Marib, were to be interrogated by Yemeni police and that the US FBI investigators could present their inquiries to them through Yemeni policemen.
But reliable sources told the YT that the government feels embarrassed for finding it difficult to arrest the tribal sheikhs who enjoy strong influence on their fellow men.
The sources added that there was much attention on Marib, which was believed to be a hideout for Islamic Jihad members; most of whom have fought in afghanistan. These people are supporters of Usama bin Laden and al-Qaida.
The Yemeni police are expected to start an arrest campaign against suspects in tribal areas, mainly Marib and al-Jawaf, in the near future. The campaign is meant to cleanse these areas of Islamic extremists.
A number of Arab Afghans have been arrested in Yemen since the 11 September attacks on the World Trade Center.