Yemeni forces crack down on al-Qaeda in Hadramaut, Abyan

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


A member of the Yemeni security forces frisks a man at a checkpoint in the former al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) bastion of al-Mukallah in Yemen's coastal southern Hadramaut province, on November 30th, 2018. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Yemeni forces achieved security successes against al-Qaeda militants on Tuesday (January 8th), with operations taking place against the group in the provinces of Hadramaut and Abyan.

Yemeni forces, in co-ordination with the Arab coalition, arrested a five-member al-Qaeda cell in al-Qatn district of Hadramaut, the 1st Military District said in a statement Tuesday.

The forces raided a house in the area of Mankhar that was used by the cell as a workshop for making explosives and planning terror attacks, it said.

"Five terrorists were arrested at the house, and a vehicle packed with explosives, several improvised explosive devices (IEDs) set for detonation, large amounts of weapons, a number of fake IDs, and communication devices were seized," the statement said.

"Our forces’ success in busting the terror cell is a result of the co-operation and solidarity of the people of Hadramaut with security forces," said al-Qatn district general-director Abdul Latif al-Naqeeb.

Hadramaut residents renounce terrorism "because it destroys homes and tears apart the fabric of society", he told Al-Mashareq, noting that they have been reporting suspicious movements and elements to security forces.

Weapons cache found in Abyan

Meanwhile to the west of Hadramaut, in Abyan province, Security Belt Forces announced Tuesday they have uncovered an al-Qaeda weapons cache containing weapons and explosive devices.

"Security Belt Forces carried out a high-level operation [in Abyan] and found 1,000 anti-personnel landmines in Alej, nine kilometres from Khabar al-Maraqsha," the commander of al-Sahel Front in Abyan's Security Belt Forces, Mohammed Ali Maemas, said in a statement.

"The discovery of this cache caps the sacrifices and efforts of the local population who provided us with important tips about al-Qaeda elements who were frequenting Alej and al-Marun in Khabar al-Maraqsha," he said.

"After two days of monitoring, we found caches containing weapons, IEDs, rockets, and RPGs belonging to al-Qaeda," he added.

This area has been an al-Qaeda stronghold since 2011 as the group set up a permanent camp there and dug tunnels and warehouses, said Maemas.

"We have found more than 1,000 anti-personnel landmines which are linked together as a ground network," he said.

These landmines were used by al-Qaeda elements against the Security Belt Forces in Abyan province, he added.

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