Abyan operations room co-ordinates security efforts

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Yemeni forces walk in Zinjibar on August 16th, 2016 after they entered the Abyan provincial capital following an offensive backed by the Arab coalition to recapture the city from al-Qaeda. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Abyan province's security committee met last week to discuss readiness, plans to consolidate security and joint co-ordination between the various units, local media reported.

The September 10th meeting, chaired by Maj. Gen. Abu Bakr Hussein Salem, with Deputy Interior Minister Maj. Gen. Ali Nasser Lakhma in attendance, came a day after al-Qaeda operative Ali Shana was killed in a strike.

Shana, also known as Sameh al-Marami or Sameh al-Zinjibari, was deputy to al-Qaeda leader in Abyan Jalal Belaidi, who was killed in February 2016, with three of his companions, in Wadi al-Murun in Khabar al-Maraqsha, Ahwar district.

During the meeting, Salem called on the commanders of military brigades and security agencies to heighten vigilance and deal firmly with crime and outlaws.

The security committee comprises security and military commanders and the directors of all districts in the province.

In early 2017, the committee formed a joint operations room to co-ordinate the work of security units deployed in the province to combat terror groups and outlaws.

Tackling security challenges

"Tackling the security challenges and responding to any possible attack by al-Qaeda elements is a priority on the security committee’s agenda," said al-Mahfad district director Ahmed al-Rabie.

The joint operations room will help "co-ordinate security efforts to respond to any threat, whether from al-Qaeda elements or outlaws", he said, in light of the August attacks in Lawdar and Ahwar districts.

In these incidents, al-Qaeda elements attacked security checkpoints belonging to UAE-backed Security Belt forces.

Lawdar security chief Col. Mohammed Homsan al-Awdhali survived an August 20th assassination attempt when suspected al-Qaeda gunmen opened fire on his motorcade as it passed through Shohat intersection, east of Lawdar district.

"Abyan province is working to counter any action by al-Qaeda elements," said deputy Abyan governor for security affairs Mohammed Naser al-Jamha.

The group has "no influence or control over any area, and we are working to ensure that this continues to be the case", he told Al-Mashareq.

The joint operations room seeks "to link the activities of security and military units through a central command centre and co-ordinate efforts and deployment", he said.

This will help to meet challenges and potential threats in a strategic manner, by deploying security and army units on a geographical basis, al-Jamha said, starting at the district level and including all districts of the province.

Development achievements

Abyan has seen progress in the area of development, al-Jamha said, noting improvements to water and electricity services in Zinjibar and Khanfar districts.

The province has succeeded in returning the 30-megawatt power plant to operations after two years of lack of electricity, he said.

"Keeping these services running also necessitates improving the security apparatus," al-Jamha said.

The joint security operations room will help "fill the security gaps that could arise" by ensuring the various units are working in co-ordination and al-Qaeda has no opportunity to exploit breaches, said political analyst Adnan al-Humairi.

He told Al-Mashareq it is essential to co-ordinate the work of intelligence, security and military agencies, especially in responding to possible retaliatory actions by al-Qaeda following Shana's death.

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