Monday, October 8, 2012

Saudi and Iran exchange accusations over Somali military recruitment in Yemen

The Yemen Times
Monday, April 23, 2012

The flow of African refugees in Yemen, in particular Somalis, has sparked a wave of accusations between Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Iranian and Saudi media outlets have accused each other’s countries of recruiting Somalis who flow into Yemen as fighters.

The Iranian military-run Fars News Agency (FNA) said last Thursday that 1,300 Somali refugees were transferred to Saudi Arabia to be militarily trained. They claimed that this is part of a Saudi plan to train hundreds of Somalis to fight the Houthis in Sa’ada, north Yemen.

The Tehran based news agency also said that the US government is involved in preparations of a plan to counter the Shiite Islamists in Yemen.

“Saudi Arabia uses Somalis to fight the Houthis in north Yemen, and they are trained in Saudi military bases who take advantage of Somalis who infiltrate into Saudi Arabia through trafficking. They are trained to fight on behalf of them,” FNA said.

The Saudi Al-Sharq, a Riyadh based Newspaper posted a prolonged interview with a Saudi analyst, Ali Al-Twati, who spoke about the consequences of Yemen’s turbulence on the Gulf’s security.
Al-Twati affirmed that there are superpowers such Iran that insist on provoking tensions in the region, in particular in Yemen, to have political and sectarian influence.

He said that Al-Qaeda in Yemen depends on military supplies that are provided via the Arabian Sea, pointing out that Iran is involved in providing this support to ignite chaos in the Gulf.

He cited that Somalia is no less dangerous than Abyan, and that Al-Qaeda militants gathered there. He claimed that a number of Somali militants were captured while they were fighting with the Houthis in the latest war between the Yemeni government and the Houthis.

A Somali news website, Somalia Today, expressed concerns about the possible consequences for Somalis as a result of quasi-official accusations between Riyadh and Tehran.

In an analysis posted on the website on Thursday, Somalia Today expressed concerns about news recently posted by the Iranian military, indicating that innocent Somalis will be affected as a result of the news.

It further said that Somalis were previously killed owing to rumors and reports that falsely stated that Somalis had fought on the side of the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On the Yemeni side, a meeting was held last Saturday to discuss the flow of Somali refugees in Yemen.

The meeting was held in the headquarters of the Foreign Affairs Ministry in the capital Sana’a with the attendance of the Minister for Human Rights, Huria Mashhoor, deputy minister of the Foreign Ministry for Refuge Affairs, Ali Muthna Hassan and the representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR in Yemen), Naveed Hussain.

It discussed the flow of Somalis who come to fight with Al-Qaeda as well as the consequences of that on Yemen.

The Yemeni Interior Ministry said on its website that smuggling boats landed 234 Africans on the coast of Shabwa, on the Arabian Sea, and off the coast of Taiz on the Red Sea. The boats managed to escape, according to the Ministry of Interior.

The Yemeni security services said on Friday  that among the African arrivals were 60 women and 34 children, and that 195 of the Africans were from Somalia with the remainder from Ethiopia.
They indicated that 158 of the Africans landed on the Dhubab coast of Taiz, and the other 76 landed on the coasts of Shabwa governorate.

The security services said that they sent the refugees coming from the Horn of Africa to the main camp of refugees located in the Kharaz area of Lahj governorate

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