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Security forces in Abyan monitor al-Qaeda movements

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

Forces loyal to the Yemeni government stand guard on a road at the entrance to Abyan province as they take part in an operation to drive al-Qaeda out of the southern provincial capital on April 23rd, 2016. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Security Belt Forces in Yemen's Abyan province have been monitoring the movements of al-Qaeda elements in remote and mountainous areas of Mudiyah and al-Mahfad districts in order to contain any threat, a security official said.

"Our efforts to counter threats from al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups are ongoing," said Abyan Security Belt Forces commander Abdul Latif al-Sayed.

"The war against terror is open and will not stop until security and stability have been established throughout Abyan," al-Sayed said in a statement.

"Abyan now has trained security forces capable of defending their areas and countering any threats, whether from terrorist groups or the Houthis (Ansarallah)," he added.

"Security forces in Abyan have cracked down on terrorists in al-Mahfad and surrounding mountains, and have recaptured the most important positions which the terrorists controlled, including a main training camp," al-Sayed said.

"Abyan today enjoys stable security thanks to the ongoing campaigns and efforts to crack down on terrorists in different districts and remote areas where they are positioned," he said.

Sporadic retaliatory attacks

Al-Qaeda's strategy following its successive defeats has been to retreat and carry out sporadic retaliatory operations in various parts of Abyan province, political analyst Adnan al-Humairi told Al-Mashareq.

Some areas, including al-Mahfad district, had been largely under the control of al-Qaeda, he said, noting that the Yemeni army had not entered them in years.

Because of this, he said, al-Qaeda is not likely to give in easily.

The ongoing war being waged between Yemen's government and its allies on one side and the Iran-backed Houthis on the other needs to end in order to rein in al-Qaeda, he said.

The war "has created an environment in which al-Qaeda can flourish", he explained.

The Yemeni army is battling the Houthis on more than one front, he said, and the economic and social circumstances created by the war enable al-Qaeda to "launch attacks from time to time".

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