Mohammed Aidroos, Field Leader of the People's Committees’ in Abyan talks to the Yemen Times
To know more about the locals fighting alongside the army, Sadeq Al-Faqih of the Yemen Times conducted a phone interview with Mohammed Aidroos, field leader of the People’s Committees’ in Abyan.
What is the current situation of Ansar Al-Sharia after the victory you achieved and the defeats Ansar Al-Sharia sustained in different areas?
War isn't restricted to achieving victory in an area or a district and won't stop until we purge the country entirely of those factions.
I convey glad tidings of victory over those factions to all Yemenis by virtue of the military troops and fighters of the People's Committees’, groups of civilian fighters established to back the military, who sacrificed themselves for the sake of their country.
They practice acts of violence and shell mosques, civilians, farms and houses. But we won't allow these factions to control any part of Yemen.
What are the indicators of victory you achieved in cooperation with the military?
Briefly, I would say that the militants were defeated in Yasoof, and their plans proved wrong. Moreover, they were distracted and lost their strongholds.
Instead of attacking, the militants turned to defense, and they couldn't line up together easily as they used to do.
Do the militants have heavy weapons, military vehicles and tanks? Do they get them by way of collusion?
They had some military vehicles, medium weapons, a tank and armored vehicles that they gained in previous battles, but the Yemeni warplanes continued shelling on them and they were almost destroyed.
Does the government give you enough support?
The government has to continue to support the People's Committees’ fighters, who volunteered to battle the militants. It supported us with light weapons and ammunition and promised to give more support.
We are patriotic and ready to sacrifice for the sake of our country. Our faith in Allah encourages us to continue fighting those militants until Yemen is purged entirely.
What's the role of media in covering your battles against Ansar Al-Sharia?
The media is busy doing its business and didn't fulfill its duties in covering everything except for some media correspondents. Therefore, I would like to thank those who continuously cover what is going on and shed light on battles.
I call on the media to stand by the side of the military instead of spreading false information.
Are the warplanes that launch exact strikes on the militants Yemeni or American? And do they take off from American battleships or from Yemeni airports?
The warplanes take off from Yemeni airports like Aden airport and also airbases like Al-And airbase. No American warplanes have participated in the battles. We have a professional cadre of Yemeni captains who are qualified enough and well-trained to hit their targets accurately.
Do you have a mobile hospital to take the wounded fighters?
All wounded fighters are taken to government hospitals. President Hadi, the minister of defense, the governor of Abyan, the chief of staff and all prominent figures pay enough attention to them.
But where exactly do you take them?
I can't tell where exactly because it is a military secret that mustn't be known.
What do Ansar Al-Sharia militants look like?
They are all about 20 years old and have long hair like women.
Is it true that some militants give themselves up to you? And how do you deal with them?
Yes. Through the Yemen Times, I urge them to surrender instead of following their deviant thoughts.
We treat them in a good manner and then hand them over to the state.
What are the techniques they use in fighting?
They depend on deceiving others , and whenever they want to shed blood, they wear military and security uniforms to be able to join the military and security forces and attack them.
It's a big mistake that the militants can obtain the military uniform easily. I call for military officials to prevent such things by closing down shops that sell military uniforms.
Where do you think they get the military uniform, particularly after changing the uniform of several military units?
I don't know exactly, but you can ask security, intelligence or military officials to clarify that.
Do the National Security, Political Security and military intelligence provide you with information?
No. we don't take information from them. However, we take information from the military units positioned in battlefields. We also give information about the militants to the military.
Do you provide food for the military during battles when the roads are blocked?
No, these are rumors aimed at decreasing the soldiers’ morale. But, in case, we are ready to provide that, and it isn't a shame. So far we give information to the military and cooperate with them to do tactics and patrolling.
Regarding rations, the minister of defense pays enough attention to that. Even the wounded get their rations daily according to doctors' instructions.
Can you describe a battle you had with Ansar Al-Sharia?
I can't describe that, but they are a group of deviants who know nothing but killing and destroying everything. They kill children and women. They are against human instinct. I have never seen such a group like Ansar Al-Sharia worldwide.
Is there disagreement between the commander of the 111 Brigade and the governor of Abyan?
You have to ask them, but I don't think so.
How many fighters do you have in the People's Committees’?
We have many fighters, and all Yemeni youth can join the People's Committees’.
Are there training camps for the people's committees?
No. Yemenis are great. Prophet Mohammed, Peace be upon him, described them as the people of faith and wisdom and they don't need training. They are additional fighters that fight alongside the military to defend Yemen.
What are the areas the army and you recaptured?
We recaptured Yasoof, Qatin, Lawdar, Al-Khodaira, the area around the electricity station, Aden-Abyan road, Shabwa, Modea road and Al-Beida'a.
Moreover, 40 militants were killed when they tried to attack us and control Akad, Al-wade', Al-Ain, Al-Arqoob, Jaar and Al-Meniasah.
When purging these areas, landmines were found. Where they made in Yemen? And who removes them?
The militants laid mines against troops and military vehicles in main roads and other areas we controlled. They were all made in Yemen and were removed by military experts.
Why do Ansar AL-Sharia militants moved from the north of Yemen to the south?
We destroyed their strongholds in the north and controlled all the areas there. So they had to move to the south. We are positioned in the northwest to battle them.
Many militants were captured after clashes in the area around the electricity station. Does the military interrogate them or you?
We don't interrogate them.
Do you think they get local or foreign support?
I don't know but I think that they get illegal support.
Have you received new weapons?
Yes, we received sniper rifles, machine guns and other weapons.
Are the troops positioned in the areas you recaptured enough to counter any surprise attack of Ansar Al-Sharia?
Yes. The military and the People's Committees’ are working together.
Did the Counterterrorism Unit, the Publican Guards and the Special Forces participate in the last battles?
Yes, and also, other military units and the fighters of the people's committees participated. Moreover, some sheikhs cooperate with the army.
Do Mohammed Ali Ahmed, [a southern opposition figure], and his fellow tribesmen fight alongside the People's Committees’?
Yes, and there is mutual coordination between us.
Do you think that Tariq al-Fadhli, prominent leader from South Yemen, cooperates with Ansar Al-Sharia?
His son fights by their side.
Do the Yemeni clerics fulfill their duty in holding conferences and seminars to enlighten the Yemeni youth?
Moqbel Al-Wad'i, a late religious scholar, and other scholars explained the risk of this terrorist group, warned Yemenis of them and their deviant thoughts and showed how they attracted uneducated youth fifteen years ago.
It is the clerics and the Ministry of Endowment's duty to warn youth not to be attracted by the militants , but the ministry didn't fulfill its duty.
Are there fighters in the People's Committees’ from other areas than Abyan?
Yes, there are. Moreover, fighters from different areas were killed and wounded.
From which governorates exactly do the volunteers come?
They come from Yafea, Al Dali', Lahj and Al-Beida'a.
Do you have volunteers from the northern governorates?
Did the Bakeel and Hashid confederations' sheikhs send volunteers to back you?
No, they didn't.
What is the difference between those who cut power lines, block roads and Ansar Al-Sharia?
They are all alike because they disrupt people's interests. Ansar Al-Sharia knows that it is not permissible to kill civilians and shed blood, but they continue killing civilians in Abyan. They deceive other people, too, saying that these acts of sabotage are at the core of Islam.
How did you receive the news of the suicide bombing carried out by operatives of Ansar Al-Sharia before the Day of Unification?
This heinous crime is forbidden in all religions and laws. It was carried out by people who find joy in seeing blood everywhere. Never had such a crime happened before.
What is your message to the families of those killed in the suicide bombing and the security forces?
Through the Yemen Times, I would like to console families and relatives of the killed soldiers; may their souls rest in peace in heaven.
I assert that we will continue battling those militants and mercenaries until they are completely defeated, whatever the sacrifices are.
Besides this, my message to the security forces is they have to investigate the matter, sentence the responsible about the suicide bombing to death as well as purging the military institutions of mercenaries and secret agents.
The state has to pay attention to the families of killed soldiers.
What is your message to the Yemenis, particularly the youth?
They have to establish committees to defend their country of these terrorist groups and help the military to counter them. They should also work together to remain stabile, putting aside their own interests.