Friday, April 13, 2012

Army forces retake strategic town in Yemen's south, 15 killed

Yemen division 2012-3-11 (wikipedia)
ADEN, Yemen, April 13 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni army forces retook the strategic town of Umm Ayan in the southern province of Abyan during battles on Friday morning, leaving at least five tribal fighters and ten terrorists killed, a local commander of army forces and tribal chief said.

The al-Qaida militants retreated from Umm Ayan in Lauder town early Friday morning to the mountainous areas after five days of fighting, a local tribal chief told Xinhua on condition of anonymity, adding that three local leaders of the al-Qaida had been captured, two of whom were foreigners.

"After the overnight air raids on the al-Qaida-held posts, the army forces are now advancing. They will have full control of the suburbs in Lauder and Mudiyah towns," the tribal chief said.

"All the armed tribesmen from villages in Abyan and neighboring Lahj province joined the fight alongside the troops," he added.

Many al-Qaida insurgents were killed in the fighting with pro- government tribesmen in the battles, according to military sources.

Meanwhile, a government official told Xinhua anonymously that battalions of the Yemeni Counter Terrorism Units arrived in Abyan from the capital of Sanaa on Thursday night.

Taking advantage of the one-year-long political conflicts in Yemen, the resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), locally known as Ansar al-Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law), has taken control of several cities and swathes across restive southern provinces.

The AQAP, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is considered by the United Stated as an increasing threat to its national security.

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