Alleged drone strike in Abyan kills eight
“The armed men targeted in the last strike were [among] the most dangerous ones in the governorate,” said Col. Mohammed Donba, Abyan Security Chief, but did not provide names of the targeted men.
He said the strike took place in the Wadi Malaha area of Ahwar district.
According to Shaker Al-Ghadeer, a soldier in Brigade 111 positioned in the Ahwar area, two vehicles were hit in the attack and everyone inside was burned.
Al-Ghadeer alleges that two soldiers from Brigade 115 who were believed to be spies working with Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) were killed in the strike.
Brigade 111 said they informed citizens in Ahwar last week to prepare in case clashes between the state and militants broke out.
“Al-Qaeda insurgents have spread widely,” said local resident Hadi Mohammed Ahwar. “Residents live in panic as the security situation is not under control here. They are afraid of the shelling.”
Al-Ghadeer said armed clashes broke out on Saturday and Sunday between alleged AQAP affiliates and the brigade. He said there were no deaths or injuries.
On Monday, a believed American drone killed at least three people in the Al-Qatan district of Hadramout governorate. The Interior Ministry has not confirmed the strike nor the identity of the victims.
The United Sates continues to wage a controversial drone war in Yemen, with the support of the Yemeni government.
With every new strike, anti-drone activists point to the lack of transparency and accountability of the program. Rights groups say dozens of civilians have died in the strikes.
“The drone attacks aren’t justified as these armed men could be caught, imprisoned and tried,” said Abdulrahman Barman, a lawyer and human rights activist with the National Organization for Defending Rights and Freedoms (HOOD).
A resident of Ahwar, Abdulla Dokhn, said, “We are afraid of the drone strikes and thinking of moving to another area.”