Saleh sacks defected military commander in Yemen


Sana’a : Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Monday sacked Major General Mohamed Ali Mohsen as he declared to join protest movements.

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President Saleh has appointed Major General Ahmed Saeed bin Brik as the new commander of the Eastern Military Area and the Brigade 27 Mika to replace Major General Mohamed Ali Mohsen, Xinhua quoted Yemen’s defence ministry as saying.

Saleh, who has been facing weeks-long youth-led street protests demanding an immediate end to his 33-year rule, also appointed Colonel Hussein Mshaba as the commander of 15 Infantry Brigade in the northern troubled province of Amran to replace another defected commander.

The decisions came days after both the former commanders defected from the government to join the opposition-led demonstration in protest against March 18 shootings that killed 52 protesters outside Sana’a University in the capital.

The two commanders announced defection together with President Saleh’s half brother, Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the commander of the Northwest Military Area, also known as 1st Armored Division, to join the protesters.

The March 18 shooting and al-Ahmar’s defection drew more support from senior government officials, diplomats, security and army officers for anti-Saleh protests.

The official Saba news agency Sunday quoted Saleh as saying that “if a military mutiny takes place, then a war would be launched in order to regain control over the country.”

Saleh admitted that he has already lost control over five provinces, which were led by defected commanders while al-Qaida militants seized four towns and a weapon factory in southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.