Bloody clashes between military and Al-Qaeda in Abyan
Some military officers in Abyan accused general, Mahdi Maqwala, former commander of the southern military region who was ousted from his office on Friday by the new President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi of aiding the armed group against the army, Aden-online.com reported on Sunday.
The sources said the group also took over heavy weapons belonging to the Yemeni army in aggressive attacks carried out by the militants since Friday.
Local authority officials told the Yemen Times that the assailants have not been positively identified, and added that the armed group blew up two armored vehicles loaded with explosive devices in Al-Kood. The explosions happened near two military bases, which led to the death of the six soldiers.
Violent clashes renewed four days ago between Al-Qaeda operatives and the Yemeni military in a number of districts in Abyan, said local sources.
The past two days have witnessed the most violent confrontations since the election of Hadi as Yemen’s new president. Hadi vowed during the constitutional swearing-in to crack down on militants in Abyan to enable displaced people to return to their homes.
Fresh violent confrontations erupted between the 119th Division, commanded by Faisal Rajab, and Ansar Al-Sharia militants and Al-Sharia supporters in Al-Kood district on Sunday.
Local sources told the Yemen Times that confrontations began at 4:00 AM and that Al-Qaeda was reinforced by 40 military vehicles, which they had captured in previous clashes with the military.
They said the military used heavy and medium-sized weapons and that marine forces took part in fighting Ansar Al-Sharia, supporters of Sharia law.
Clashes broke out between the 31st Division and elements of Ansar Al-Sharia near Shabwa governorate.
According to local sources, the troops engaged in fighting with Ansar Al-Sharia until their ammunition ran out, at which point, Al-Qaeda militants captured military equipment from the division, including three armored vehicles, Katyusha rockets and six cannons. A number of soldiers escaped to Abyan’s coastal strip.
Meanwhile, an Al-Qaeda operative carried out a suicide car bomb attack against the 119th Division’s position in Al-Kood district on Sunday at 11:30 AM, leaving 20 soldiers and officers dead.
Local sources said that Ansar Al-Sharia rallied its forces to surround the 25th Mechanized Division’s position in Zinjibar.
Media sources have reported that Al-Qaeda operatives carried out strikes against several military positions on the outskirts of Zinjibar on Saturday evening, leaving 10 soldiers wounded.
Military forces recently threatened Al-Qaeda to withdraw and leave Abyan, and vowed to launch strikes to regain control of the governorate, parts of which were captured by Al-Qaeda militants last year.