Ousted Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in Addis Ababa on Friday morning around 3:00 am on a chartered Yemen Airways Boeing 747 flying from United States Boston’s Logan International Airport.
Saleh was in the United States for medical treatment for wounds suffered in a June 2011 assassination attempt at his presidential palace during battles between government troops and protesters who demanded his removal.
His son Ahmed Ali Saleh 42, who was the commander of Yemen’s most highly trained troops and who was determined to preserve his father’s rule against enormous pressure at home and abroad also arrived on Friday in Addis Ababa to meet his father.
Sources told Capital that both the father and son are expected to leave for Yemen’s capital Sana’a on Monday.
Yemen Embassy officials in Addis Ababa declined to comment about Saleh’s arrival and whereabouts.
Saleh, the fourth ruler to lose power in the Arab Spring uprisings, was expected to return to Yemen for the inauguration of the new president on Monday February 27. Saleh agreed to step down in exchange for immunity from prosecution. However experts say the outgoing president, who over the years has built a strong web of tribal and family relations, could still hold considerable sway in Yemen after the new president is elected.
Voters in Yemen went to the polls Tuesday February 21 to replace Saleh, who led the country for 33 years. The only person running for the presidency was Vice President Abdurabu Mansur Hadi, who became acting president in November 2011 as the result of a power transfer brokered by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) after months of protests.
“Yemen’s potentially historic transition will be off to a shaky start unless Hadi makes an immediate break with the abuses of the past,” said Letta Tayler, Human Rights Watch’s Yemen researcher. “Yemen’s new leader needs to move decisively to usher in promised reforms that uphold human rights and the rule of law.”
The 65-year-old Hadi is a British- Egyptian- and Soviet-trained army officer, recently promoted to field marshal. He had been vice president since 1994 and ran for a two-year term as president on pledges of improving security and creating jobs.
Yemen is the poorest country in the Middle East with a severe shortage of water and rising levels of malnutrition among its population of about 25 million.