|map by Evan Centanni (www.polgwonow.com)|
"Scores of fighters from al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula ( AQAP) are preparing to declare the Ghayl Bawazir area near the port city of Mukalla, the provincial capital, as an emirate of their newest Islamic state," the local security official said on condition of anonymity, adding that "the al-Qaida fighters armed with assault rifles are stationed at several checkpoints throughout the area."
A local resident told Xinhua anonymously that "masked al-Qaida militants seized the Ghayl Bawazir area and said they were going to establish an Islamic caliphate. People were very scared."
The country's the interior ministry said in a brief statement posted on its web page "the terrorist presence of al-Qaida in Hadramout will suffer the same fate as that in Abyan."
In January 2009, al-Qaida affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed the al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula.
The group, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen's southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.
The AQAP underscores the challenges faced by Yemen's new President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi who won support from major Yemeni political forces, the United States and Saudi Arabia.
Hadi is tasked with restoring security and stability to Yemen and putting an end to growing influence of al-Qaida that threatens daily oil shipping routes in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.