Yemen continues to crack down on al-Qaeda after clearing Shabwa

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa


Rudum district in Shabwa province was the target of a July 16th al-Qaeda attack. Shabwa and other local authorities have stepped up their efforts to enhance security. [Photo courtesy of Safa Obeid]

Yemeni forces will continue with their efforts to crack down on extremist groups after clearing most of Shabwa province from al-Qaeda elements, officials tell Al-Mashareq.

The deployment of elite forces in areas where al-Qaeda had a presence in the south of the country has forced them to flee Shabwa towards Abyan province, elite Shabwa forces commander Brig. Gen. Khaled al-Azmi told Al-Mashareq.

"The military deployment of the elite forces in Azzan, al-Naqbah, Habban and other areas and the intensification of the security measures has made Shabwa 80% secure," he said.

"Al-Qaeda elements are treacherous, but the elite Shabwa forces proceed with their deployment and security measures, and are prepared to carry out military operations against any movement by those terrorists," he added.

High security alert in Abyan

The army and security forces in Abyan are on high alert following news of al-Qaeda elements fleeing to the province from Shabwa.

"Security forces are proceeding with their counter-terrorism measures, especially against al-Qaeda elements, despite the difficulties, including terrorist operations against army and security personnel," deputy Abyan governor for security affairs Mohammed al-Jamha told Al-Mashareq.

An al-Qaeda suicide bomber killed five Yemeni soldiers and wounded seven others in an attack Tuesday (August 8th) on an army position in Loder in Abyan province.

The assailant used an explosives-rigged car to target a military checkpoint that was recently set up in the area.

"Al-Qaeda does not go for confrontations, but has chosen instead treachery, as was the case with this suicide attack," al-Jamha said.

"The army will avenge its victims and the security and military agencies will be on the lookout for terrorists," he said, urging citizens to report any suspicious elements or movements.

The attack came after the army and security forces in Abyan started implementing a deployment plan in areas where al-Qaeda has a presence.

"The security and military forces will proceed with their deployment plan to clear Abyan province of terrorists," al-Jamha said.

"These terrorist attacks will not weaken our resolve to achieve those goals," he added.

Co-operation among agencies

At a meeting in Aden last month, the Yemeni government affirmed its support for the efforts of local authorities to enforce security in liberated areas, and stressed the need for continuing vigilance in order to thwart terrorist plots.

Shabwa police chief Brig. Gen. Awad Massoud al-Dahboul told Al-Mashareq that security agencies in the province are implementing a plan to enhance security and stability, in co-operation with army forces stationed there.

This includes strengthening security at vital sites such as the airport and the main roads linking the provinces, he said.

Al-Dahboul stressed the need for residents and the members of local tribes to help enhance stability "by informing the security agencies of any threats to security", noting the commitment of tribal leaders to supporting the security agencies.

To consolidate security throughout the country, the government must give equal attention to security agencies in all provinces, political affairs researcher Adnan al-Humairi told Al-Mashareq.

"Having security efforts vary from one province to another opens a security gap that could be used by those looking to undermine security and stability," he said.

Co-ordination between security agencies in various provinces also is necessary in order for them to achieve their objectives, he added.

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