Yemeni forces capture al-Qaeda training camp

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Yemeni pro-government fighters walk in the Abyan provincial capital of Zinjibar on August 14th, 2016, after they recaptured the town from al-Qaeda. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Yemeni forces backed by Arab coalition warplanes on Saturday (February 23rd) captured a large al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) training camp in Abyan province's Wadi Omran.

In the same operation, the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces also seized control of a number of remote mountainous areas in the province's Mudiyah district.

"The security crackdown has succeeded in clearing Wadi Omran, north-east of Mudiyah, of terrorists following a fierce battle in which our forces besieged the terrorists inside the wadi and engaged them for several hours," said Brig. Gen. Abdul Latif al-Sayyed, commander of the Security Belt and Rapid Intervention Forces in Abyan.

"The terrorists had been receiving reconnaissance and monitoring support from other elements," he said in a statement.

"Their fortifications, located in a mountain range extending all the way to al-Bayda province in the north, were stormed, and the terrorists fled the area, leaving behind their ammunition and blood," he added.

"Our forces will proceed with their security crackdowns, which will now move to a hideout where those outlaws are barricaded," al-Sayyed said.

Crackdown 'must continue'

The Security Belt Forces said they had been targeted with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and landmines at the entrance to Wadi Omran.

As a result of this attack, the force said in a statement, two soldiers were wounded and a military vehicle was damaged.

During combing operations in Wadi Omran, Abdu Sanad al-Marqeshi, who commands the Security Belt Forces in Zinjibar, and Col. Saleh Saeed al-Meslmi, Abyan head of operations, came under two separate attacks.

Both men survived, but a number of their escorts were wounded.

Deputy Abyan Governor Abdul Aziz al-Hamzah called on the Security Belt Forces to continue their operations in all parts of the province.

"The success of this operation can be credited to the fact that it coincided with airstrikes launched by Arab coalition warplanes in support of our forces on the ground," he told Al-Mashareq.

The strikes "targeted al-Qaeda fortifications in rough mountainous areas", he said.

Al-Qaeda has lost control over some of its former strongholds and is now focusing on setting up training camps, said Adel al-Shujaa, a member of the General People's Congress general committee.

"The crackdowns on al-Qaeda elements must continue until all these training camps, whether in Marib, al-Bayda, Taez, Aden or Abyan, have been captured," he told Al-Mashareq.

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