Yemeni troops launch campaign against Al-Qaeda in Abyan

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AL-MUKALLA: Yemeni special forces have initiated an offensive against Al-Qaeda in the southern governorate of Abyan, amid claims that the terrorist organization is trying to resurrect itself.

Elite counterterrorism forces have been stationed in Abyan’s mountains and valleys to prevent Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, its Yemeni affiliate, from using those areas as safe havens or launch pads for attacks on government troops in the south.

The effort was initiated after receiving information that AQAP was assembling in remote valleys and mountains to prepare assaults against government troops in the south, according to Abdul Rahman Al-Shonini, commander of counterterrorism forces in Abyan. He pledged to halt its resurgence in Abyan.

His forces had met little resistance, as AQAP terrorists are said to have fled to their hideouts in the mountains between Abyan and Al-Bayda governorates.

Local media and villagers said last month that camouflaged AQAP terrorists came in certain valleys and districts of Abyan, ambushing troops and capturing people.

Local media and villagers said last month that camouflaged AQAP terrorists came in certain valleys and districts of Abyan, ambushing troops and capturing people.

Local security officials blame AQAP for a series of attacks in Abyan and Shabwa governorates last month that killed at least ten soldiers.

In 2015, AQAP used insecurity caused by Yemen’s war to conquer vast areas of terrain in southern governorates such as Hadramout, Abyan, and Lahj.

Yemeni troops were able to sweep AQAP out of important cities with the help of the Arab alliance, killing and arresting hundreds of militants.

Various armed formations in Abyan, including government troops and the pro-independence Southern Transitional Council, agreed last month to form a combined command room to combat AQAP.

Source: Arab News

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