Saleh relative resigns as Yemen air force head

SANAA Tue Apr 24, 2012 4:44pm IST

Related Topics

SANAA (Reuters) - A half-brother of former Yemeni leader Ali Abdullah Saleh has quit as air force commander, having previously refused to do so in a challenge to new President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, a U.N. envoy said on Tuesday.

"The handover has taken place as stated in the decree issued by the president," Jamal Benomar told reporters in Sanaa. "It was a smooth handover with no conditions whatsoever".

Hadi replaced nearly 20 officers this month, including air force chief Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar, who besieged the capital's airport, grounding all flights, in protest at the decision.

Ahmar's capitulation is Hadi's first successful move to distance Saleh's relatives from power and restructure the armed forces, threatening the vested interests of Yemen's old guard.

Benomar, who helped push through the plan under which Saleh eventually left office after more than a year of popular unrest, persuaded the former president to secure his half-brother's compliance with Hadi's directive, a government official said.

"The U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar conducted negotiations to convince the former president of the need to implement the decree to remove his half brother from the leadership of the air force," said the official, on condition of anonymity.

Saleh's son, nephew and other allies remain in place as heads of important military units.

General Rashed Ali Nasser al-Jund replaces Saleh's half-brother as head of the air force. Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar has been made assistant to the defence minister.

Hadi, who had been Saleh's vice-president, was elected president unopposed in February under a U.S.-backed transition plan brokered by Yemen's wealthy Gulf neighbours.

(Reporting by Tom Finn and Mohammed Ghobari; Writing by Isabel Coles; Editing by Alistair Lyon)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Ebola Outbreak

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Neclear Restart

Neclear Restart

Japan's Sendai nuclear restart in final stage: local governor.  Full Article 

Fight Unites

Fight Unites

Kurds' battle for Kobani unites a people divided by borders.  Full Article 

Railway Revamp

Railway Revamp

China to spend at least $33 bln on new railway lines.  Full Article 

Controversial Remark

Controversial Remark

Thousands denounce HSBC board member's likening of Hong Kong people to freed slaves.  Full Article 

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle

Cook Speaks Up

Apple's Cook signals front line of new gay rights battle.  Full Article 

Gas Deal

Gas Deal

Ukraine, Russia, EU agree to natural gas supply deal.  Full Article 

Jerusalem Tensions

Jerusalem Tensions

Kerry urges restraint, expresses worry over tensions in Jerusalem.  Full Article 

Myanmar Roundtable

Myanmar Roundtable

Obama urges progress in Myanmar ahead of rare roundtable.  Full Article 

Active Volcano

Active Volcano

National Guard arrives in Hawaii town threatened by lava.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage