Ibrahim Haidan (Twitter)

«Suspicious Role»: What Does The Interior Minister Seek For?


Sun, 26-02-2023 01:07 PM, Aden

Raad Alrimi (South24)

Over the past period, Yemeni Interior Minister Ibrahim Haidan issued many decisions and appointments in several Southern governorates which have been totally rejected by political and community parties as well as local residents. They have been seen as being attempts to stir up chaos and conflicts. 

Most of these decisions focused on appointing security commanders from outside the relevant governorates or those who don’t enjoy internal popular support. Additionally, he dismissed other officials who are rivals to the Islah party, the Muslim Brotherhood’s branch in Yemen. 

These decisions raised questions about the objectives sought by the Interior Minister who was appointed by the then President Hadi in December 2020 based on the Riyadh Agreement between the government and STC. Some of the decisions taken by the man led to violence that killed dozens of civilians and military personnels. 

Haidan’s decisions 

On August 7th 2022, Maj. Gen. Ibrahim Haidan appointed Colonel Marwan Al-Sabai as the Chief of Staff of the Special Security Forces in The Wadi and Desert of Hadramout. Appointing Al-Sabai, whose hometown is Marib and affiliated with the Islah party, has been met with widespread rejection in Hadramout as the local residents there call for enabling them to manage their own affairs. In an official statement, the leaders of the “Second Hadrami Uprising” said that they reject the decision reiterating their demand to expel the First Military District forces from Wadi Hadramout. Moreover, STC’s assistant executive body in the districts of Wadi and Desert Hadramout issued another statement in which it denounced the decision. The statement said: “We refuse all decisions which play into the Muslim Brotherhood and challenge and encroach on the Hadramis' desire to manage their military and security affairs".

The decision came concurrently with a battle that erupted in Ataq after what was then described as an “insurgency” of security and military forces affiliated with the Islah party against Governor Awad Al-Awlaki. Haidan was accused of supporting Abd Rabbo Lakaab, former Commander of the pro-Islah Special Security Forces.

On August 23rd of that year, the decisions of Haidan, who is mostly based in Seiyun, extended to Al-Mahra governorate which borders Oman. The Interior Minister appointed Northern officer Saleh Mohammed Nasser Al-Mawry as Commander of the Special Security Forces in Al-Mahra according to press sources. In response, the Head of the General Council for People of Al-Mahra and Socotra, Sultan Abdullah bin Isa Al Afrar, called for Al-Mahra’s residents to stand up together in the face of imminent dangers. Al Afrar said: “Al-Mahra has national and qualified cadres to manage its own affairs like other governorates".

On Jan 23rd, the Military Authority of the Army and Southern Security in Al-Mahra held a meeting and refused another figure appointed by Haidan as Commander of the Special Forces in the governorate, Colonel Akram Al-Majhali former Commander of Central Security Forces in the governorate. The Authority asked STC to “abolish the decision and appoint a new commander from Al-Mahra’s people as well as appointing efficient and impartial commanders in the security and military institutions. 

On February 10th, Abyan witnessed much tension due to another decision by Haidan to appoint Lieutenant Awad Al-Fadli as Chief of Staff of the Special Security Forces in the governorate. The decision has been rejected by the Security Department in Abyan led by Brigadier General Ali Al-Kazmi. The decision led to limited clashes in the headquarters of the Special Security Forces in the city of Zinjibar. This followed shootings carried out by soldiers affiliated with the Interior Minister according to local sources who spoke to “South24 Center” before the problem was defused. 

A joint statement issued by the commanders of Abyan Military Axis and Abyan’s Security Department declared “thwarting” what they described as “a conspiratorial plot” which targets “Abyan’s security, safety and stability as well as sparks the fire of sedition among its people through decision whose aim is to spread chaos”.

Haidan’s decision in Abyan came concurrently with the second phase of Operation “Arrows of the East” carried out by the Southern forces against AQAP in central Abyan months after the reconciliation with the government forces deployed in the city of Shuqrah against the Southern forces during battles that erupted in Abyan in 2020. 

On December 17th, Minister Haidan issued a new decision in Hadramout to appoint Colonel Obeid Karama Bazhir as Security Chief of Hadramout's coast to succeed Brigadier General Muti' Al-Minhali. PLC didn't pass the decision according to exclusive sources to "South24 Center" as PLC member Faraj Al-Bahsani and others rejected sacking Al-Minhali.

Al-Bahsani refused another decision taken by Haidan to suspend Brigadier General Salem Al-Khanbashi, Director of the Police Academy in Hadramout, and investigate him. On December 12th, Al-Bahsani gave instructions to keep Al-Khanbashi in his position.

Clashes that erupted in Lauder district in Abyan in July 2021 which caused civilian casualties are considered among the prominent incidents that followed the appointment decisions by the Interior Minister. Haidan appointed Jafar Al-Akami as Lauder's Security Chief but the tribes rejected that.

Forces affiliated with Haidan launched a military campaign on Lauder that lasted for days. They clashed with tribal armed men in addition to the Security Belt forces. The campaign managed to enter Lauder Police Headquarters after casualties.

Haidan’s decisions were not limited to security appointments but they included legal ones that were rejected by the relevant ministry. On June 27th, Haidan appointed Colonel Nashwan Mohammed Saeed Al-Malahi as Deputy Director General of Legal Affairs and Police Judiciary at the Ministry of Interior. Later, the Ministry of Legal Affairs refused the decision and gave instructions to revoke it. It said that this bypasses the powers and laws. Prior to that in 2021, Haidan’s decisions extended to enable figures close to the Islah party in the Civil Registry Office.

In June of that year, Haidan decided to dismiss the Acting Head of the Civil Registry Office in Abyan, Lieutenant Mohammed Musa, who was replaced by Mohammed Al-Dobahi. The local authorities led by Governor Abu Bakr Hussein refused the decision. According to exclusive sources who spoke to "South24 Center '', Haidan’s decision came in light of Musa's refusal to give Northern displaced persons Abyan Identity documents, birth cards and other documents due to fears about demographic changes.

Suspicious role

Ahmed Al-Rbizy, the STC’s Negotiation Unit member claimed that Interior Minister Ibrahim Haidan "carries out a project to spread chaos and sedition in South Yemen".

He told "South24 Center": "I don't think that Haidan’s made up fires in the Southern governorates are a coincidence. All evidence indicates that his decisions were carefully examined and have specific goals[..]. These decisions fueled armed conflicts".

He added: "Haidan encouraged the insurgency commanders against the Governor of Shbawa. He repeated this in Al-Mahra and Hadramout by appointing the Islah's affiliates. Previously, he was the reason behind fighting in Lauder in Abyan. He replicated this in Zinjibar by appointing Chief of Staff of the Special Security Forces without coordinating with the governor and the security chief.

Al-Rbizy believes that the outcome of Operation "Arrows of the East" against AQAP and the understandings in Abyan have not been admired by Haidan and those who are behind him". He added: "Obviously, Haidan seeks to serve the Islah party's agenda and return the absurd battles to Abyan".

Al-Rbizy drew a link between the "Nation Shield" forces affiliated with Saudi Arabia, whose establishment sparked wide controversy and Haidan's latest decisions regarding the Special Security Forces. He said: "Haidan exploited the entry of the so-called "Nation Shield" forces to Zinjibar's suburbs and made it tools for his dubious goals".

Two prominent US institutes warned of the consequences of the new armed groups established by KSA in South Yemen on the ongoing “counterterrorism operation” there and STC’s anti-AQAP efforts in Abyan.

Political analyst Masoud Zein agreed with Al-Rbizy that Haidan's deeds are suspicious. He told "South24 Center'': "What the Interior Minister recently did in Abyan and previously in Shabwa, Al-Mahra and Hadramout sparked questions and doubts about the nature of his role and who benefits from this".

He added: "Minister Haidan always issues improper decisions with provocative appointments at times which do not bear any provocations. This makes his decisions as pouring oil on the fire. Moreover, they are considered blatant interference by the Interior Minister in matters outside his powers".

He said: "If we review his appointments, we will find that the man is pushed to serve some partisan agendas which are in turn pushed by foreign agendas that don't favor stability in the governorates in South Yemen. I can't find another explanation for his deeds".

In the middle of this month, the Interior Minister met in Riyadh with Christopher Landberg, the US Acting Principal Deputy Coordinator for the Bureau of Counter-terrorism, Ian McCary Deputy US Special Envoy to the anti-ISIS Coalition and Steven Fagin the ambassador to Yemen to discuss "Ways to enhance security coordination to combat terrorist groups" according to Saba news agency.


During 2022, PLC issued many decisions that included civil, military and judicial appointments. However, the wheel of change has kept running away from the Interior Ministry led by Ibrahim Haidan inspired by the continuous demands to depose him".

Haidan is one of the main figures supported by the Islah party as part of the matrix of the Yemeni "legitimacy" after the Riyadh Agreement in November 2019. It is likely that PLC members affiliated with the Islah party have been behind not dismissing the controversial man.

Politician Ahmed Al-Rbizy wonders why Haidan has not been deposed so far. He added: "I have no justifications for not being sacked till now except one which would stir doubts that PLC include members who like what Haidan does".

He concluded: "There is no doubt that Haidan's deeds harm PLC and the parity government. It is a disgrace to keep him on top of a ministry which is supposed to spread security and stability in all the governorates and districts in the country".

"South24 Center" has not been able to reach Minister Haidan for comment.

Raad Alrimi 

Journalist at South24 Center for News and Studies in Aden.

South YemenYemenInterior MinisterIbrahim HaidaAbyanShabwaHadramoutAl-MahraInsurgencySecurity