The Yemeni army, backed by coalition forces, has succeeded in regaining control of large swaths of Abyan province from al-Qaeda.
Yemeni forces entered the Abyan provincial capital of Zinjibar and the al-Qaeda stronghold of Jaar, the capital of Khanfar disctrict, on Sunday (August 14th) after recapturing a number of other cities in the province over the past several months.
Saba new agency reported that the military's operation has succeeded in regaining control of the areas of al-Kod, Makhzan, al-Jol and al-Musaimer, and that the campaign continues to hunt down extremists who fled from al-Maar.
"The military campaign led by the army and supported by the coalition on the ground and in the air came to fruition by their entry to the towns of Zinjibar and Jaar," said Amina Mohsen, acting secretary general of the local council of Abyan province.
"Today joy pervaded most of the regions and cities of Abyan province and the evidence is that children and citizens in general greeted the army crowds that reached their areas," she told Al-Mashareq.
Mohsen said good preparation on the ground in addition to intelligence efforts and co-operation by citizens led to the recent successes.
The army needs to redeploy in the cities of the province, she said, to protect their institutions and infrastructure from any potential revenge attacks by al-Qaeda after its defeat.
Citizens want to return to live within the confines of the state governed by law and order, she said.
Preventing al-Qaeda's return
Starting from Aden, the military operation proceeded quickly, restoring Abyan provincial cities one after another until the forces reached Jaar and Zinjibar, said Khanfar local council secretary-general Nasser al-Mansari.
Sources say that al-Qaeda fighters fled to the Yafi area and are heading toward Maarib province, he told Al-Mashareq.
The army has deployed military checkpoints on the main roads between the liberated cities, he said, adding that the army found explosives inside the mayor's office when they arrived to the provincial headquarters.
"Al-Qaeda does not control a particular geographical area except in light of the weakness of the central state, its engagement and division in internal conflicts and wars as experienced by Yemen now," said political analyst Tariq al-Zuraiqi.
The army's quick success in expelling al-Qaeda from Abyan confirms this fact, he said, adding that the terrorist organisation fled when it realised the seriousness of the military forces.
Al-Zuraiqi said the military campaign must continue across all of Abyan province and in the neighbouring provinces in order to prevent the group from returning to wage suicide attacks against citizens and military personnel in reprisal.