Al-Qaeda arms cache seized in Yemen's Abyan

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Forces loyal to the Yemeni government stand guard as smoke billows on a road on the entrance to Abyan province during an operation to drive al-Qaeda out of the provincial capital on April 23rd, 2016. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Security Belt Forces in Abyan province's al-Mahfad district on Monday (April 8th) captured an al-Qaeda camp in Wadi Hmara, a security official said.

During the raid, which was part of a security campaign that kicked off Sunday, they seized weapons and personal items belonging to al-Qaeda elements.

The Monday morning raid on Osama bin Laden camp in Wadi Hmara was part of an effort to target al-Qaeda hideouts and elements in the mountains and valleys of al-Mahfad district.

"Security Belt Forces, led by Brig. Gen. Abdul Latif al-Sayed and Commander Abdul Rahman al-Shanini, captured several al-Qaeda positions in al-Mahfad district after the terrorists fled them," the forces' media centre said.

"Our forces now control Wadi Hmara and have found personal objects belonging to the terrorists who had abandoned their positions in the wadi," it said in a statement.

"These campaigns complement previous operations carried out by the Security Belt Forces to crack down on terrorist elements and restrict the movements of other armed groups that are engaged in smuggling weapons to terrorist groups," al-Sayed said in the statement.

"During the campaigns, we captured a number of positions where al-Qaeda elements had been barricaded," he said. "We found hand grenades, cell phones, SIM cards and IDs belonging to the terrorists."

"The terrorists fled, leaving behind weapons and tools used in their criminal operations," he added, along with personal belongings such as cooking utensils.

Preventing future attacks

Al-Mahfad mayor Ahmed al-Rabie said the Security Belt Forces sought to raze any hideouts where the extremists may seek to return.

The forces had previously captured several al-Qaeda positions and then returned to base, he said, after which al-Qaeda elements returned to those positions and launched fresh attacks.

"These campaigns are aimed at putting an end to the series of attacks which al-Qaeda elements launch against the Security Belt Forces," al-Rabie said.

He stressed the need to establish permanent security camps in different areas to ensure al-Qaeda elements will not return to those hideouts.

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