Going to Zinjibar and Jaar means to go to the hell of battles and sparks of fire and we reached it on rebounds and a promise to gain an interview with the leader of Jamaat Ansar Al-Sharia (aka AQAP).
We first went to Jaar according to an agreement with the mediators to conduct an interview with Amir Jalal Mohsen Baleidi Al-Marqashi who is also known as Abu Hamza.
Whenever we see a bearded person wearing the Afghan outfit we would say this is the leader. We were four, I, colleague Wagdi Al-Shoubi, Amjad Khashaafa and the mediator Awsan Al-Jaadani.
We went out from Zinjibar to Jaar and waited for half an hour then five masked militants came to us and asked us not to use video cameras since they will do the video recording and they will copy of it and allowed us to use the audio recorder and photo cameras. We set out on a white Prado with the militants on the Zinjibar - Jaar road and we returned once again close to the location of the clashes and the peal between the dunes of banana and mango trees a youth with a skinny body came down wearing a pouch, machine gun and wireless radio. He hugged us in welcome in quietness, poise and a smiling soft voice. We sat under the trees we sat in squat away from any formalities. We were three journalists asking in order...
How do you view what is happening before you in the scene
after opening the road and return of some of the displaced?
Abu Hamza Al-Marqashi: Bismillahi'l-Rahmani'l-Rahim!
Zinjibar was exposed during the past period to destruction of the infrastructure and that was an intended act, and we were able to accomplish several major projects due to the cohesion of the people with us and we passed many of the hardships, the schools today in Jaar and its surroundings are managed better in some provinces and the hospital of Al-Razi was destroyed by warplanes in a way that violate the manmade laws and legislation so what about the Islamic Sharia that prohibits such act and we were able to establish a health center by cooperating with the Red crescent based on security conditions that they were abided to it.
A.M: There are some who say that you are just followers of the familial regime of Salih and he is pushing you to stay in power and there are some who say that you are linked to the commander of the First Armored Division and commander of the army of the revolution Ali Mohsen Al-Ahmar?
A.H.M: This talk is totally baseless since the regime is continuing the war and deals with America in fighting us, so how do the opposites meet, regarding the second part of the question is also is also baseless since all of them are fighting us, and the strange thing is that they fought among themselves in Sana'a but allied themselves together in fighting us and cooperated with their allies the Americans against us.
A.M: What about your relation to the project of separating the South from the North?
A.H.M: We want to implement the Sharia of Allah in this province and repaying the injustices. Our goal is to circulate the Islamic model like the Taliban who did justice and provided security.
A.M: Is the name ‘Ansar Al-Sharia' a new name for Al-Qaeda organization and are you an extension for the global Al-Qaeda organization?
A.H.M: Don't ask me about outside Abyan, I'm not authorized to answer about what is going outside Abyan, you can only focus on Abyan.
A.M: Ok, what about the nature of war in the field?
A.H.M: In the beginning the war against us was a ferocious war that the entire world was engaged against us, including the regime, Joint Meeting Parties and the Houthis. All the parties of the political conflict have gathered against us, against all who wants to implement the Sharia of Allah. Alhamdulillah, today Zinjibar is under the control of the mujahidin and the battle isn't equal, the regime has a large military arsenal, but the victory is from Allah (How often has a small party vanquished a numerous host by Allah's permission) 249 Surah Al-Baqara, and no matter how large is the arsenal of the army in the regular warfare the guerrilla warfare is stronger than it, we can never return to the stage of no return or surrender, and we today are in the best condition and have passed the jihad of the elite to the jihad of the people to implement the Sharia of Allah.
A.M: You said that the Houthis are fighting you, how do you know that?
A.H.M: Yes indeed, they fought against us and we killed many of them and we found with them the Houthi slogans (Death to America and death to Israel) and we found publications that insult the Sahabah and Ummahat Ul-Muʾminin, and I wish if you would have seen and heard in night when they are in the 25th Mechanised Brigade singing that slander the Sunnah and we have many proofs and evidences and the proofs that the Houthis are fighting in the ranks of the 25th Mechanized Brigade and unfortunately the opposition parties have given concessions more than what Ali Abdullah Salih have given to the West, when yesterday they were talking about Ali Abdullah Salih opening the sovereignty to the West but today they are doing the same and are giving pledges to fight against who want to implement the Sharia. I swear to Allah if Ali Abdullah Salih have ruled with the Sharia of Allah we wouldn't be doing jihad and I swear to Allah if the opposition will rule with the Sharia of Allah we wouldn't have opposed them and considered them followers of the West.
A.M: Do you support the peaceful revolution of change?
A.H.M: Yes, but we differ in the means, and if they have went out to topple the regime months before, we have went out to topple this regime before decades and we differ with them in the way but we are similar and agree in toppling the regime as what happened in Libya.
A.M: Some of the media published that you execute some of your members on charges of treachery and there are disputes among you?
A.H.M: (Interrupting) These are baseless some of the media is describing badly and is serving other parties and exploits the issue of implementing the Hudud on the murderer and that is being exploited and some said that the youth of the revolution are being executed and many other of what is said is baseless, it's just disinformation.
A.M: What about the presence of foreign nationalities? And what are the size of the losses?
A.H.M: The majority are Yemenis and we don't force on them the duty of support and jihad and regarding the issue of losses we are sad for what is being published by some of the media, the majority of the killed are from the public in the bombardment of the American warplanes and the artillery shelling, and despite of that every battle has its losses but our losses in equipment and souls are negligible when compared to the losses of the army.
A.M: How do you manage the affairs of the emirate of Zinjibar and Jaar?
A.H.M: We took the institutions in a shabby condition and we rehabilitated it so that the people ban benefit from it and we reached to area where the state haven't reached and w pumped the water and in Zinjibar we provided electricity through generators. We can deal with the issue services in Zinjibar in two months but the army doesn't want the displaced to return and the biggest proof on that is what it is conducting from heavy shelling. It's not in the interest of the army for the displaced to return since it is claiming imaginary victories and regarding the emirate of Waqar (Jaar) we have service institutions and there is a social committee in the issue of services and there is a police institution to solve the disputes and there is a judiciary that rules with the Islamic Sharia and there is a Dawah committee that has a general relation with the Hesbah institution, and an education institution and today education in Jaar is better than some of the major provinces.
A.M: Do you accept dialogue?
A.H.M: We accept dialogue with anyone but we have red lines the most important is implantation and governance of the Sharia of Allah and in the secondary issues we can also accept dialogue, we are only concerned about the implementation of the Sharia of Allah in the land.
A.M: Is there a final word that you want to say and we haven't ask you about?
A.H.M: We want to address important messages, the first is to the media, that it seeks credibility. In the past period there was a media blackout and sophism by transferring an unreal image, so we call the journalists to seek accuracy since the reality presents itself. And in the second message we call the sons of Abyan to join the mujahidin since they are part of the solution and they can go out in demonstrations and stand against the presence of the army and they have to demand the withdrawal of the army from the outskirts of Zinjibar. And our third message is to the public opinion, we say that we Ansar Al-Sharai are the ones who control Abyan to implement the Sharia of Allah since we tried socialism, secularism and democracy and today we rule with the Sharia of Allah and implement the rulings of the Sharia.
Interviewed by: Anis Mansour, Hayat Aden newspaper