Published — Wednesday 6 March 2013
Last update 6 March 2013 2:01 am
SANAA: Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi has rejected efforts by scholars and tribal chiefs to broker a truce with Al-Qaeda, insisting that the militants must lay down their arms, an official said yesterday.
“The president wants members of Al-Qaeda to surrender their arms, announce their repentance and renounce their extremist ideas,” the official said on condition of anonymity.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), considered the jihadist network’s most dangerous franchise, announced on several websites that the truce efforts had failed.
The mediators, who launched the initiative in January, had already revealed in a statement on Feb. 5 that their efforts had run into trouble.
They said Hadi had refused to sign up to a truce proposal which had been accepted by AQAP chief Nasser Al-Wahishi. The collapse of the mediation bid came as a suspected Al-Qaeda suicide bomber rammed an explosives-laden car into a building in Loder, killing 12 pro-government militiamen.
Al-Qaeda militants were driven out of most cities in Abyan province, including Loder, in June last year in an offensive by troops backed by militia. Yemeni forces continue to hunt militants in the rugged south and east, aided by US drone attacks.
The militants took advantage of a decline in central government control during a 2011 uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of territory across the south.