Air force personnel to escalate strike action
The soldiers vowed to escalate their actions by holding marches to vital areas. A soldier told the Yemen Times that soldiers and officers may march to Sana’a International Airport to put pressure on a defiant Al-Ahmer to resign.
The Gulf-brokered initiative for power transfer stipulates that the Yemeni army and security apparatus would be restructured. However, thousands of air force soldiers and officers started their protests against Al-Ahmer earlier this year.
Since the beginning of their sit-in two months ago, Al-Ahmer has refused to respond to protester demands.
“He still maneuvers and thinks that we are going to be frustrated, and that’s why he has refused to quit,” said Belal Al-Suhbani, a first lieutenant in the air force. “His departure is inevitable. It’s just a matter of time.”
Al-Suhbani told the Yemen Times that the air force protesters are going to escalate their actions by holding marches into unannounced places. They are keeping the destinations secret for security reasons.
He indicated that all soldiers and officers who are still on strike did not receive their recent salaries because of their participation in the sit-in.
“Unfortunately, random arrests have been made against some innocent soldiers. Some of them didn’t even go on strike,” he said.
Backbone of the army
Al-Suhbani explained that the regime is afraid that the commander of the air force will be forced to step down.
“The air force is the backbone of Yemen’s army,” he said. “If we succeed in ousting Al-Ahmer, the family regime will lose their control of the army.”
According to Al-Suhbani, soldiers and officers of the air force are marginalized and unappreciated.
“The air force leadership supports and promotes soldiers and officers who were working according to personal loyalty,” he said. “Those who really love their country and avoided personal loyalty are accused of terrorism and treason.”
“It’s time for the air force to dismiss corrupt leaders and welcome eligible officers,” he said.