Yemen slams Shebab pledge to send fighters
Yemen said on Saturday it will not allow foreign fighters to infiltrate the country after Somalia’s Shebab insurgents said they will send militants to help an Al-Qaeda affiliate behind the failed US airliner bombing.
“Yemen will not accept on its territory any presence by (foreign) terrorist elements and will be on guard against anyone who tries to act against its security and stability,” the official Saba news agency quoted Foreign Minister Abu Nakr al-Kurbi as saying.
Saba said Kurbi was “astounded” by the Shebab pledge to send militants to fight Yemeni government forces who have been battling Al-Qaeda.
Sheikh Mukhtar Robow Abu Mansour, a senior official of the militia that pledges allegiance to Al-Qaeda, announced the plan on Friday as he presented hundreds of newly trained fighters in the north of Mogadishu.
“We tell our Muslim brothers in Yemen that we will cross the water between us and reach your place to assist you fight the enemy of Allah,” said Robow, to chants of “Allahu Akbar” — God is greater — by the young fighters.
“Today you see what is happening in Yemen, the enemy of Allah is destroying your Muslim brothers,” he added. “I call upon the young men in Arab lands to join the fight there.”
On Saturday Kurbi said: “It would have been wiser for those who promise to export terrorism to work towards stability in their own war-ridden state.”
Yemeni forces last month launched raids on suspected Al-Qaeda targets in the central and the Sanaa regions, killing more than 60 Islamist militants.
Several others were also wounded in clashes this week in a western province of the impoverished Arabian peninsula state which lies north of Somalia across the Gulf of Aden.
Yemen is Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden’s ancestral homeland and has seen a spate of attacks against Western targets over the past decade.
An Al-Qaeda affiliate based in Yemen claimed it was behind the botched Christmas Day plot to bring down a US airliner from Amsterdam to Detroit.
On Saturday US President Barack Obama, in his weekly broadcast, promised to hold Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to account for the attack, declaring the United States was at war with a “far-reaching network of violence and hatred.”