Ansar Al-Shariah takes control of Al-Rudum in Shabwa
The 6,680 square km district has over 23,000 inhabitants and has a 220km coastline along the Arabian Sea. Yemen’s largest liquid natural gas plant operates and exports gas to the global market from the city of Balhaf in the district.
Citizens in the district told the Yemen Times on Saturday that the group’s activities began in the area in the form of public religious speeches. Their activities have developed significantly after security forces abandoned their positions, and now the group practically runs the district.
The armed militants came from Azzan, 30km northeast of Al-Rudum, which fell into the hands of the group in early June 2011. Citizens say that the militants have already started assuming their job in organizing public life, guarding commercial shops and establishing an Islamic emirate.
However, the local people are greatly concerned by US-Yemeni airstrikes that sporadically hit the area.
The militant group also communicates with the local citizens through a local FM radio station that broadcasts from Azzan.
The Yemen’s Joint Meeting Parties which includes the traditional opposition has accused former president Saleh and his allies of colluding with the armed groups to occupy towns, in order to sabotage the power transition deal.