Yemen's Hadramaut prepares to celebrate al-Qaeda ouster

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

A picture taken on August 8th, 2018 shows a skiff sailing off the waterfront of the Hadramaut provincial capital of al-Mukalla. [Karim Sahib/AFP]

A picture taken on August 8th, 2018 shows a skiff sailing off the waterfront of the Hadramaut provincial capital of al-Mukalla. [Karim Sahib/AFP]

Residents of Yemen's Hadramaut are preparing for popular and official celebrations to mark the third anniversary of the province's liberation from al-Qaeda, to be held on April 24th, a local official said.

While the date of the celebrations marks the anniversary of Hadramaut's liberation, Monday (April 1st) is a black day in the province's history, as this is the day al-Qaeda captured al-Mukalla and other coastal areas in 2015.

Hadramaut has turned into a "workshop" as preparations for the celebration get under way, said deputy Hadramaut governor and head of the celebrations committee Saeed Othman al-Amoudi.

This year's celebrations "will feature official events, military parades and popular celebrations, including 10 arts tents for holding fine art, photographic, cultural, singing and literary shows", he told Al-Mashareq.

"We also will inaugurate several facilities," he said, pointing out that these include a police academy "and a memorial for martyrs, in order to remember the sacrifices they made to liberate the Hadramaut coast".

"This is in addition to the gas-generated electricity project which will be inaugurated during President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi's visit," he said.

These were able to be built thanks to the security and stability that prevailed after al-Qaeda's defeat, he said.

In addition to celebrating al-Qaeda's ouster, he said, "we also want to stress the importance of preserving the stability which Hadramaut is currently enjoying" in terms of improved security, development and infrastructure.

Remembering the liberation

"The liberation succeeded thanks to the major support we received from the Arab coalition countries, especially the UAE," al-Amoudi said.

Emirati forces helped to train the Hadramaut elite forces of the 2nd Military District at al-Masila and Ramah camps, and supplied them with military gear, he said.

The momentum that began with the liberation of Hadramaut from al-Qaeda continued in neighbouring provinces, he said.

Al-Amoudi stressed the importance of commemorating the Hadramaut liberation anniversary in order to preserve the security and stability it ushered in.

"April 1st is a painful memory for all the people of Hadramaut," government employee and al-Mukalla native Saeed Youssef told Al-Mashareq, noting that it marks "the start of suffering and abuses at the hands of al-Qaeda".

Al-Qaeda committed many abuses against the people of Hadramaut, he said, including cutting off people's hands or heads in response to the rulings of its fraudulent courts, restricting personal freedoms and looting banks.

Youssef commended the Arab coalition, which trained and equipped the elite forces and helped them defeat al-Qaeda and liberate al-Mukalla and the Hadramaut coast on April 24th, 2016.

He also stressed the importance of celebrating this anniversary every year.

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