In news that added to the questions about exactly how well the US-backed Yemeni military is functioning, reports today say that tribesmen have finally negotiated the release of Yemeni Brigadier General Murad Awbali, who was kidnapped last month by his own troops.
Awbali, a Saleh loyalist who was behind much of the Taiz crackdown last year, had apparently stopped paying the salaries of soldiers who refused to participate in the crackdown and the soldiers, keen on getting paid, kidnapped him.
The exact terms of his release were unclear, but the tribesmen apparently promised that the soldiers would get paid after they released Awbali. The Yemeni Defense Ministry had repeatedly ordered the soldiers paid over the past few months, but they never were.
This is just one of many bizarre examples of the military’s divided nature. Yesterday, the Yemeni government revealed that despite previously accusing “tribesmen” of blowing up the Maarib pipeline, it was actually members of their own military, acting apparently on behalf of former dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh.