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Saleh Flees with Riches to Ethiopia

Ayanna Nahmias, Editor-in-Chief
Last Modified: 18:52 PM EDT, 27 February 2012

President Ali Abdullah SalehSANAA, Yemen – Exiled Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh is rumored to have made plans to live in exile in Ethiopia. News sources have already published photos of the ousted president standing with the Ethiopian President Meles Zenawi.

Saleh and his family, according to an anonymous source but confirmed by a diplomat in Sanaa, said that they would be departing for Ethiopia where they will reside in a villa in the suburb of Addis Ababa. Reportedly, their visas have been issued and their belongings are already in transit to this Horn of Africa nation.

Other family members have left the country and sought refuge in the United Arab Emirates. It doesn’t appear that Saleh, as with most ousted or deposed rulers, willingly relinquished control as evidenced by his refusal to sign the accord for the power handover three times before finally agreeing to it.

After finally agreeing to sign the accord, Saleh did not leave the country or the presidential palace until he was severely injured in June by a rocket attack on the palace. He subsequently spent three months receiving medical treatment in Saudi Arabia, and three weeks ago he received additional treatment in the United States for injuries sustained during the attack.

Yemeni officials and other world leaders felt that Saleh’s continue residence in the country could have a destabilizing effect which could provide Al-Qaeda with entrée into the nascent government and provide more opportunities for them to exert greater control over the country.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi was sworn in as president on Saturday and requested that Arab leaders and the US pressure Saleh to leave the country. Though the elections were modeled upon a democratic system, Hadi was the only candidate in the vote.

Many Yemeni citizens are angered by Saleh’s ability to depart the country unsanctioned. To add further insult, it is rumored that his family and coterie stripped the presidential palace of many valuables. Saleh’s peaceful departure was actually the result of a Gulf-proposed and U.S. backed power-transfer deal granting him immunity from prosecution in exchange for stepping down.

Ironically, it may have been the threat by the U.N. Security Council to freeze Saleh’s and his family’s assets that finally persuaded him to depart. In a staged farewell ceremony on Monday, Saleh and Hadi appeared for the first time next to each other. They pledged to lay the foundation for a peaceful power transition. But, the only promises the Yemeni people want from new government is a commitment to bring Saleh to justice.

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Editor: @ayannanahmias

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About Ayanna Nahmias

Ayanna Nahmias was interviewed on Radio Netherlands Worldwide program titled 'The State We’re In,' about her life in Africa and her determination to transcend her past. She started the Nahmias Cipher Report to provide information to readers about life in emerging economies, and to provide alternative insight into the challenges faced by women and children living in these countries. The blog features stories from around the world to inspire other people to persevere and triumph in the face of great adversity. She blogs about current events in emerging economies, international politics, human rights abuses, women’s rights and child advocacy.

View all posts by Ayanna Nahmias

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