Dismissed general challenges Hadi
Director of Sana’a International Airport, Naji Al-Muraqeb, told Yemen Times that the airport resumed its flights on Sunday morning at 11am, with the first plane departing to Sayoon.
“The airport recommenced its work after threats posed by armed groups deployed around the airport disappeared,” said Al- Muraqeb.
The airport’s traffic was completely halted from Saturday morning until Sunday.
Mohammad Saad-Adin, an airport officer, said that there was no departure or landing in the airport during that period, affirming that all passengers had to leave the airport on Saturday, after hearing the sound of shelling from the Al-Dailami nearby military airbase.
He explained that incoming flights to Sana’a were diverted to Aden International Airport.
“The airport was closed after artillery shells were fired from a nearby air base towards the airport at 6am. Traffic was completely suspended after that,” Saad Adin said.
Um Khalid, who lives in Wadi Ahmed, a neighborhood located close to the airport, affirmed that she heard sounds of shelling t 6am, but said she was not sure whether shelling fell on the airport or not. Further, she said that the transportation inside and outside the airport irregular.
Sana’a Airport’s was shut down after decrees were issued by Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi last Friday in which senior military leaders loyal to the former president Ali Abdullah Saleh were dismissed.
The decrees included the dismissal of Mohammad Saleh Al-Ahmar, commander of the Air Forces, and the appointment of Rashid Al-Janad in his place.
According to Marib Press, Al-Ahmar declared a rebellion against Hadi and threatened on Saturday to shoot down any plane taking off or landing.
A large number of armed tribesmen loyal to the dismissed General Al-Ahmar were deployed on Saturday around the airport, eyewitnesses said.
Bilal Othman Al-Sahbani, an Air Forces officer said that armed tribesmen imposed a siege on the Air Base and the airport, and prevented anybody from entering the Air Forces headquarters.
He pointed out that forces of the Republican Guard and the Central Security forces were put in position around the headquarters of the Air Forces, confirming that tanks and vehicles concentrated close to the gates and main entries of the military airbase.
He stated that the armed men, estimated at 500, were ordered in by officers and commanders loyal to Al-Ahmar, pointing out that tribesmen commanded by Sheikh Naji Juman took control of facilities and offices of the base.
The last decrees of Hadi that included the dismissal of Al-Ahmar were met with international support and praises.
Ambassadors of GCC initiate witnessing countries including the five Permanent Members of the Security Council as well as the Gulf Cooperation Council resident in Sana’a, affirmed in a statement released on Saturday that the decrees “will serve to eliminate points of friction and reduce tensions as envisioned in the GCC Initiative and Implementing Mechanism.”
“The Group of Ten Ambassadors considers that the Presidential decrees are fully consistent with both the letter and the spirit of the GCC Initiative and with the responsibilities entrusted to President Hadi by the Yemeni people in the election of February 21, 2012,’” the statement read.
They called on “all Yemenis to cooperate fully with the decrees, stressing that they will view with the utmost concern any steps to resist their implementation or impede the operation of the airport or other state institutions, facilities, or infrastructure.”