Yemeni defected army accuses president of handing over Abyan to terrorists

Arab World Materials 30 May 2011 07:18 (UTC +04:00)

Yemeni defected army forces, which joined the opposition-backed anti-government protesters, issued a statement on Sunday, accusing President Ali Abdullah Saleh of " disrupting the military institution and handing over a southern province to terrorist groups", Xinhua reported.

The televised statement, which was read by former defence minister Abdullah Ali Aliwah on behalf of "the leadership of the peaceful youth-led anti-government protests", bore names of nine army senior officials, including dissident Major General Ali Muhsen al-Ahmar, who is the half brother of Saleh and serves as the commander of the military northwest area.

"President Saleh on Saturday issued directives to the military and security forces in the southern province of Abyan, ordering them to surrender and hand over government buildings to armed terrorist groups," the statement said, cited by opposition media outlet Almasdaronline.

The statement also accused Saleh of disrupting military and security institutions in the capital Sanaa through withdrawing government forces from those institutions to allow armed thugs to occupy them.

"We called upon the rest of our brothers, the military commanders of other brigades to declare their defection from Saleh 's cabinet and join the youths-led peaceful anti-government protests," said the statement, adding "We have to recognize that we are responsible for maintaining the unity, security and stability of Yemen for the Yemeni people and the homeland."

The statement came a day after al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula took over Abyan province following days of fierce battles with government forces.