Interior Ministry says it uncovered AQAP plot to control areas of Abyan
The Ministry of Interior’s website reported Tuesday that the plot was to be carried out by Ansar Al-Sharia, a Yemeni militant group with links to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in Ja’ar and its neighboring areas. According to the website, militants in Al-Askaria and La’aboos areas of Lahj were involved as well.
Doctor Nabeel Al-Sharjabi, a political science professor at Sana’a University, said the Ministry of Interior detected the plot after it arrested four militants who then leaked information.
Brigadier General Mohammed Bin Mohammed, head of the intelligence department in Abyan, said AQAP militants are weak but present in Al-Mahfad, a district of Abyan.
Bin Mohammed said AQAP affiliates are in a frenzied situation, desperate to gain control of Abyan, after the death of Nader Al-Shadadi, a prominent leader of Al-Qaeda.
Al-Qaeda militants held many Abyan districts in past months; however, the Yemeni army launched a massive military campaign to remove them from the areas.
“We won’t let them control any area in Abyan,” he said.
Al-Sharjabi said Al-Qaeda’s latest movements and attempts to hold Abyan districts result from weapons received over the course of its wars with Yemeni military.
He also said Al-Qaeda took advantage when the Defense Ministry withdrew some forces from certain districts in Abyan; the withdrawal was after the return of Internally Displaced Persons.
The Somali Believing Youth support Al-Qaeda to implement its plot in many districts, according to Al-Sharjabi, who said the government cannot face Al-Qaeda unless the counterterrorism forces office is reorganized and non-corrupt members are selected to lead it.
Al-Sharjabi said he expects extremists to carry out operations during Eid because Al-Qaeda makes use of the insecurity in the country.