Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Khalid Abdul-Nabi, A prominent Yemeni jihadist leader and head of the banned Aden-Abyan Islamic Army, has denied any connection to the assassinations that have been taking place for the last three months in Abyan Governorate, in southern Yemen, which has targeted officers of the Political Security Agency (intelligence) and other security men.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Abdul-Nabi said that these assassinations are “illogical” and that he does not specifically know the party or parties behind them. He added that these assassinations were “probably tribal or partisan vendetta. I do not know whether the Southern Mobility Movement [SMM] or the state was behind these assassinations.”
Abdul-Nabi said that the Yemeni authorities have not accused him of involvement in these assassinations. Moreover, the jihadist leader denied reports that he received a large sum of money from the Abyan Governor, Ahmad al-Maysari, to mediate with several jihadist groups in Abyan to calm the situation as the date of the Gulf 20 soccer championships approaches. The Abyan Governorate and Aden will host these matches scheduled for November.
Asked about the reasons for the proliferation of extremist groups in Abyan, where he lives in Ja’ar, the second largest city in Abyan, Abdul-Nabi said that the most important reasons are “the prevailing injustice, the plundering of the people’s funds and the denial of their rights, lack of security, and bad judiciary, let alone the fact that the various aspects of life in Yemen are crippled.”
Abdul-Nabi emphasized that “he has nothing to do with what is going on in Abyan. He added that the name of his army is consistent with the Islamic Shariaa and that the name of this army was heralded by Prophet Muhammad, may God’s peace and blessings be upon him. He said that “no one can say he represents the army of Aden; when God wills, the army will inevitably emerge. As to when this will happen, only God knows.”
Since his return from Afghanistan, Abdul-Nabi has lived in the Abyan Governorate. He was one of the most prominent jihadist leaders who fought alongside the then so-called “legitimate forces” during the civil war in Yemen in the summer of 1994 in which South Yemeni forces were defeated by the northern forces and their Islamist allies and other political and tribal forces. Over the past few years, sharp differences arose between him and the intelligence agencies in Abyan. He spoke publicly of those differences and reasserted that these differences have persisted because the state “took his money and broke the promises it made to him, along with other breaches.”
In another development, Yemeni security sources announced that at dawn yesterday, the security forces succeeded in entering the Al-Hawtah town in the Mayfaah Distict in Shabwah Governorate more than a week after armed clashes with gunmen whom the Yemeni authorities said were affiliated to Al-Qaeda organization. Dr Brig Gen Ahmad Ali al-Maqdashi, the Shabwah security chief, said that the Yemeni forces and other special forces are currently pursuing the elements who fled the Al-Hawtah to nearby mountains. According to the Yemeni Defense Ministry website, he said: “Our security forces are currently encircling these fugitive elements in their dens in mountainous areas until they surrender to refer them to court to receive a fair punishment for the terrorist crimes they perpetrated.”