Yemen's new anti al-Qaeda committee busts terror cell

By Abu Bakr al-Yamani in Sanaa


Yemeni soldiers check the scene of a car bomb attack at an army checkpoint at the entrance to the town of Hajr, located some 15 kilometres to the west of al-Mukalla, the capital of Yemen's Hadramaut province on July 18th, 2016. [Abduljabbar Bajubair/AFP]

A security and military committee formed on Tuesday (September 12th) by the Yemeni government to combat al-Qaeda in Hadramaut and Shabwa provinces has busted a terror cell in the Hadramaut coast, a senior official tells Al-Mashareq.

"The arrest of an eight-member terror cell on the second day after the security and military committee was formed is the first fruit of its efforts to combat al-Qaeda," said Hadramaut deputy governor Abd al-Hadi al-Tamimi.

"Combating al-Qaeda will need more planning and co-ordination between the security and military agencies in the two provinces, and even on a higher level involving all provinces," he said.

During a five-day visit to Hadramaut that started Tuesday, Yemen’s Prime Minister Ahmad Obaid bin Dagher met with security and military commanders of Hadramaut and Shabwa provinces.

The meeting led to forming the military and security committee to counter threats posed by al-Qaeda and terror cells.

The committee consists of Hadramaut and Shabwa governors, the commander of the 1st military district, the deputy chief of staff and deputy interior minister.

Bin Dagher called for combating extremist ideology, and stressed the need to develop Hadramaut once al-Qaeda elements have been expelled.

Joint efforts needed to combat al-Qaeda

"The military committee will help combat al-Qaeda because defeating the group needs joint efforts and co-ordination between the military districts and security agencies across all provinces and not just Hadramaut and Shabwa," said al-Tamimi.

He said that cracking down on al-Qaeda in Abyan has prompted the group's elements to flee to Shabwa, and when they were defeated in Shabwa, they fled to Hadramaut Valley districts.

"Al-Qaeda has a presence in Hadramaut and branches in Shabwa and other areas, so efforts to combat it must be unified," he added.

Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror cells are exploiting vast desert areas between military districts and provinces to train and launch attacks, he said.

The new committee will oversee security and military co-ordination, and the training and armament of forces in order to respond to potential threats, he said.

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