Mutiny of the 3rd Republican Guard Brigade
Despite the publicized news that the former leader of the brigade left his office last Wednesday due to efforts of the UN Secretary General's Special Advisor to Yemen, Jamal Ben Omar, sources at the brigade headquarters said that a rebellion of officers loyal to former president Saleh erupted to keep the new leader from taking on his command.
The 3rd Brigade, which is an advanced unit of the Republican Guard commanded by former President Saleh’s son, Ahmed, is stationed in critical positions on Nahdin Mountain near the Presidential Palace in the Al-Saba'een area of Sana'a, on Asr Mountain to the west of Sana’a and Nugum Mountain to the east of Sana’a.
Following the brigade's departure ceremony which Ben Omar attended, Abdulhamid Maqwala, brigadier chief of staff and one of the former president’s aides, deployed tanks in and outside of the brigade’s headquarters. He instructed brigade personnel to reject the newly-appointed commander’s orders and to prevent him from entering the office, military sources told local media.
The sources added that while Maqwala was inciting the troops to rebel against Al-Halili, Colonel Mohamed Al-Shama'a, an officer at the brigade, defied his orders. Al-Shama'a said that Maqwala’s actions are against military law and aren't in line with the GCC power-transfer deal and its implementation mechanism.
Maqwala stripped Shama'a of his sidearm, took his military badge and ordered his soldiers to arrest him. There is still no information on Shama'a's whereabouts.
Maqwala, who is leading the mutiny, was appointed commander of the 72nd Mechanized Brigade in 2008 by a decree issued by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. He surrendered all of the brigade's weaponry and equipment to Houthi fighters in Sa’ada during the sixth round of war in 2008 between the Yemeni army and the Houthis in north Yemen.
A military commander who requested anonymity told the Yemen Times that "all gossip about Tariq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh is created by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is attempting to keep all his relatives in their posts."
He further said that the former president wants to keep his nephew Tariq in office so that more concessions in his interest are made under the framework of the GCC power transfer deal.
Other military sources said that Saleh and his son and nephew are inciting soldiers against Al-Halili, instructing them to demand an increase of their salaries and privileges, Al-Ahali newspaper reported on Tuesday.
However, on Saturday Tareq denied on any mutiny at the brigade camps, saying that he has been at his home, and all reports of mutiny have been fabricated by media outlets affiliated with the Islah Party.