Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

A fighter stands in front of an armored vehicle in the center of Aden . (AP)
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Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi-led military committee moves heavy weapons outside Aden

  • The internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons

AL-MUKALLA, Yemen: A military committee led by Saudi officers in Yemen has transported heavy weapons from bases in the southern port city of Aden, a committee member told Arab News on Friday. 

“We’ve moved tanks, cannons and ammunition from Aden military bases to a military outpost in Ras Abbas, on the outskirts of Aden,” said the member on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press.

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee, which is tasked with collecting them at a location outside Aden before dispatching them to battlefields. 

The committee is also charged with making other security and military arrangements, including the withdrawal of forces from the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan. 

The Riyadh Agreement, signed in the Saudi capital in November, was designed to defuse tensions between both sides following bloody clashes last year in Aden, Shabwa and Abyan. 

Residents in Aden reported seeing columns of lorries carrying tanks leaving military bases and heading to the city’s outskirts.

Despite failing to meet some deadlines included in the Riyadh Agreement, many of its terms have been implemented.

These include the return of the prime minister, the partial withdrawal of forces, an exchange of prisoners and the process of disarmament.

Following the relocation of military units, Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi is expected to appoint a new governor for Aden before forming a new government.

FASTFACT

Under the Riyadh Agreement, the internationally recognized government and the separatist Southern Transitional Council are obliged to hand over their heavy weapons to the Saudi-led military committee.

On the battlefield, heavy fighting continued on Friday in the Nehim district just outside Houthi-held Sanaa as government forces, backed by Saudi-led warplanes, pushed forward to pave the way for the liberation of the capital. Dozens have been killed since Wednesday as both sides claimed gains on the ground.

In Marib, senior army commanders on Friday said the army would keep pressing its offensive until the Houthis are expelled from Sanaa. 

At a meeting attended by the Saudi-led coalition commander in Marib, Maj. Gen. Abdul Hamed Al-Muzaini, Defense Minister Lt. Gen. Mohammed Ali Al-Maqdashi said the Yemeni Army is determined to push the Houthis out of Sanaa and other areas under their control, and to work on restoring state institutions. 

The commanders discussed military plans and the recent escalation of fighting in Nehim, Jouf and Marib.

The conflict in Yemen began in late 2014 when the Houthis seized Sanaa and began expanding across the country.

A military coalition led by Saudi Arabia has helped government forces advance on all fronts, pushing the Houthis to mountainous provinces in northern Yemen.

 

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Algerian president’s son acquitted in high-profile corruption case

Updated 27 February 2020

Algerian president’s son acquitted in high-profile corruption case

  • Khaled Tebboune had been in pre-trial detention since June 2018
  • During his presidential campaign, president Tebboune said incarceration of his son sought to “punish” him

ALGIERS: The son of Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune has been acquitted in a high-profile corruption case in which a prominent businessman was sentenced to prison, the national radio reported Thursday.
Khaled Tebboune had been in pre-trial detention since June 2018 in connection with alleged influence-peddling involving several senior officials, exposed after a cocaine seizure at an Algerian port.
An Algiers court acquitted him late Wednesday, while the principal accused, Kamel Chikhi, was sentenced to eight years in prison for “paying bribes in exchange for undue services,” in a case relating to construction permits and administrative authorizations.
The prosecutor had called for a two-year prison sentence for Khaled Tebboune, whose father did not have any official role at the time of his arrest.
Chikhi, known as “El Bouchi” (The Butcher), made his fortune in meat imports before becoming involved in property.
He was arrested in June 2018 after the seizure of 700 kilograms (1,500 pounds) of cocaine, found hidden in imported meat.
The investigation exposed a network of influence, with accusations that Chikhi, using cash and property, bought favors from high-level officials, magistrates and others within the regime of former president Abdelaziz Bouteflika.
Chikhi was sentenced to 10 years in prison last July on separate bribery charges.
A former mayor and the son of a former prefect were also sentenced Wednesday to six and four years in prison respectively.
While prime minister in 2017, Tebboune had launched an attack on oligarchs close to the state who were awarded huge public contracts.
He was sacked just three months after taking office but went on to win the country’s presidential election last December.
During his presidential campaign, Tebboune said the incarceration of his son sought to “punish” him for his 2017 attack.
Algerians took to the streets over a year ago to demonstrate against ailing Bouteflika’s bid for a fifth term.
The alleged links between Chikhi and Khaled Tebboune earned Abdelmadjid Tebboune the nickname “cocaine president” within the protest movement, which marked its one-year anniversary on February 22.
Bouteflika resigned in April last year after losing the support of the then-army chief in the face of enormous weekly demonstrations.