No Counter-Terrorism forces in Lawdar
“Ansar Al-Sharia attacked the people’s committees several times but they were stopped,” he added.
“Ansar Al-Sharia give sermons on Saturday night, calling for a return to Sharia laws,” Eida said.
Eida denied in a statement to the Yemen Times the presence of Counter-Terrorism Units (CTU) in Lawdar and said that there are only five military vehicles of the Central Security Forces in the area.
The CTU forces which are supposed to fight Al-Qaeda’s affiliated elements were withdrawn from Abyan in May 2011 to the capital Sana’a to contain the popular uprising against Saleh’s rule.
A solider of the CTU told the Yemen Times that troops of the unit has stationed only in Zunjubar, the capital of Abyan and have not been in direct battles with Ansar Al-Sharia yet.
“Ansar Al-Sharia have several tanks, military cars, sniper rifles and anti-aircraft weapons. They have more weapons than the Yemeni military,” he affirmed.
Ansar Al-Sharia militants belong to different Yemeni governorates and there are several Somalis and Syrians among them. Most are between 13-35 years old, according to a wounded soldier of the 39th Brigade, who requested anonymity.
“Ansar Al-Sharia have telephone numbers that belong to Iranian and Lebanese people. They also use modern military tactics,” said the soldier.
Dozens of youth from districts of Abyan governorate joined the people’s committees in the last few days to fight against Ansar Al-Sharia.
“The militants of Ansar Al-Sharia withdrew from Lawdar after fierce clashes with the people’s committees. Two warplanes launched attacks on strongholds of Ansar Al-Sharia, which resulted in the death of several militants,” said Aref Alwan, a local journalist.
28 Ansar Al-Sharia militants were killed in clashes with the people’s committees, according to Alwan.
“Armored vehicles were seen carrying corpses of militants affiliated with Ansar Al-Sharia, which were buried in Al-Ain area, seven kilometers from Lawdar,” he added.
Earlier, Ansar Al-Sharia launched a major attack on Lawdar. A civilian called Mahdi Mansur Hadi was wounded.
On Friday a convoy of food supplies from Al-Dhala governorate, located to the south of the capital Sana’a, was sent to the people’s committees in Lawdar, a few days after the arrival of a convoy from residents in Al-Baida’ governorate.