A bulldozer dismantles barricades erected by defected soldiers during the course of the uprising that eventually forced Yemen’s former president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power, in Sana’a yesterday. Image Credit: Reuters

Sana'a: In a major military reshuffle, Yemen's newly-elected President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi dismissed scores of generals and top security officials on Friday night.

Hadi fired generals who had always maintained close links to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and others loyal to Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, a general who joined opposition fighters in the uprising against Saleh.

Saleh's son, Ahmad, the commander of Republican Guard, and his nephew Yahya Mohammad, the commander of Central Security, however retained their positions.

According the government-run Saba news agency, Hadi fired Mohammad Saleh Ahmar, Saleh's half brother and the commander of Yemen's Air Force and Air Defence. General Rashid Nasser Ali Al Janad was appointed as his replacement.

Tarek Mohammad Abdullah Saleh, the former president's nephew and commander of the Presidential Guard, was redesignated as a commander of the 37th Armed Brigade posted in the desert of the eastern province of Hadramout. General Rowis Moujawar lost his charge as chief of the Marine Forces.

Some military chiefs who switched sides during the uprising were also taken to task.

Hadi sacked general Mohammad Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar, the commander of the military in the eastern region, and one of the security chiefs who supported forces that stood against Saleh.

Al Ahmar was replaced by General Ali Ali Al Jaifi. Another Saleh opponent, general Mohammad Ali Ahmad Al Magdashi was removed from his position as the commander of the middle region and replaced by general Ahmad Saif Al Yafai.

Tribal leader

Hadi appointed new governors to some of the country's restive provinces. Hadi appointed Jamal Nasser Al Agel as governor of Abyan where the army has been battling Al Qaida insurgents since May last year. Shawqi Ahmad Hayel, a businessman, was named governor of Taez province where local people have voiced concerns about the deteriorating security situation amid the growing threat of armed gangs.

Sultan Mabkhout Al Ara'ada, an influential tribal leader, was appointed as governor of the lawless province of Mareb. Local tribesmen have caused annoyance to the government with raids on electricity, oil and gas utilities. Hadi also named Ali Ali Al Gaisi governor of the province of Hajja, an area known for deadly conflict between Houthi rebels and local tribesmen.

Shortly after receiving the news of his dismissal, forces under general Mohammad Saleh Al Ahmar besieged Sana'a International airport and refused to act in accordance with the presidential decree. Local sources said Al Ahmar issued a threat to bring down any planes taking off or landing at the airport.