Dignitaries from the leading tribe of al-Mahfad district in Yemen's Abyan province announced Sunday (February 17th) they stand united against al-Qaeda after a string of attacks that killed many of the tribe's youth, local media reported.
In their meeting on Sunday, dignitaries from the Bakzam tribe, whose members are heavily concentrated in al-Mahfad, denounced al-Qaeda's attacks against the district's tribal residents and UAE-backed Security Belt Forces.
They issued a joint statement calling on all families who hail from the Bakzam tribe to "close ranks and fight the dangerous scourge that is al-Qaeda in al-Mahfad district".
The attendees condemned the group's attacks against the district's youth, according to the statement, pointing to a February 13th attack against the Security Belt Forces, in which three soldiers who are members of the Bakzam tribe were killed.
Engaging al-Qaeda elements' families
"The tribal leaders decided to form a committee to talk to the families of al-Qaeda elements to persuade their sons to renounce the group and return to the right path," al-Mahfad director-general Ahmed al-Rabie told Al-Mashareq.
If these elements refuse to do so, punitive measures will be taken against their families as a way to pressure them, he said.
"We have become tired of the recurrent attacks on the security personnel who hail from al-Mahfad tribes," he said, "so the tribes decided to take steps in support of the state’s counter-terrorism measures."
"It is no longer acceptable that a tribesman who belongs to al-Qaeda would target the security forces, while his family enjoys security and stability among us," al-Rabie said.