Saleh Commander Presumed Dead Appears in Yemen Video


A nephew of slain Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, presumed dead or critically wounded in clashes with rebels last month, appeared alive and well in footage that emerged on Thursday.

A video received by AFP showed Tarek Saleh, for years the head of his uncle's forces, addressing a crowd in what a source close to the family said was the southern province of Shabwa, an area controlled by the government against which Ali Abdullah Saleh had fought since 2014.

While the video's authenticity could not be immediately verified, Tarek Saleh appeared to address the killing of his uncle and a senior aide last month.

Speaking to a small crowd of men who had gathered to cheer him on, he offered his condolences over "the martyred leader" -- probably a reference to Ali Abdullah Saleh -- and "the martyr Aref al-Zouka".

Zouka, from Shabwa, was secretary general of Saleh's General People's Congress which was allied with the Huthi rebels against the government from 2014 until the end of 2017.

GPC member Nabil al-Sufi, a close friend of the Saleh family, said the video was taken after Tarek Saleh arrived in Shabwa.

The commander had been presumed dead after being wounded in the clashes with Huthis last month.

The GPC, which has begun to show signs of cracking since Ali Abdullah Saleh's death, on Sunday elected former deputy premier Sadiq Amin Aburas as its new chief.

Long-time enemies, former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and the Huthis joined ranks in 2014, driving Yemen's Saudi-backed government from the capital and setting up a parallel state.

But simmering tension between Saleh and the Huthis erupted in Sanaa on November 29, with Tarek Saleh's residence one of the first flashpoints in the fighting.

The Yemen war has claimed more than 9,000 lives since a Saudi-led coalition joined the conflict in March 2015, triggering what the United Nations has called the world's worst humanitarian crisis.

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