President Barack Obama and his national security team met with negative results in their attempt to get Yemen's government to extradite a leader of a radical political party suspected of supporting and financing al-Qaeda, according to government officials on Sunday.
Yemen’s President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi personally voiced his refusal during a speech on Sunday in which he criticized the U.S. government's request for the extradition.
In his statement, aired on Yemeni government-controlled television, President Hadi claimed the charges were fake and he said administration had informed the Obama White House that it will never turn over Yemeni citizens to any foreign country, including the wanted suspect Abd al-Wahhab Mohammad Abd al-Rahman Humayqani, who is the secretary general of the Yemeni Rashad Union, that countries Salafist political party.
Salafists are ultra-fundamentalist Muslims who are even more radical than the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. While based in Egypt, they are active in the Palestinian-controlled Gaza Strip, Libya, and other Muslim nations.
The Salafist leader is accused by the U.S. Justice Department of facilitating financial transfers from al-Qaeda supporters in Saudi Arabia to Yemen, as well.
"Once again we see a nation that receives billions of dollars in aid as well as counterterrorism training for its police and military telling Barack Obama 'no.' The problem is they know he's as dishonest as they are and that he's weak," said former counterterrorism task force member, Capt. Martin Seeley.
Meanwhile, in yet another attack on a top Yemeni official, al-Qaeda gunmen allegedly killed a top-ranking intelligence officer in the city of Aden, according to Middle East news outlets.
Col. Marwan al-Maqbali was leaving his home when he was ambushed by gunmen firing at him from a car suspected of belonging to al-Qaeda, news agencies reported.
Two rounds struck their target and Col. Maqbali died before reaching the hospital. The carload of assailants escaped and are being hunted by Yemeni police and security officers.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has been linked to most of the increasing number of drive-by-shootings of police, security, intelligence and military officials. While AQAP almost never admits to such attacks, the group did take responsibility for a Dec. 5, 2013 attack on Yemen's defense ministry that left 56 people dead, according to an Examiner news story.