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Al-Qaeda’s recapture of Abyan districts impossible: security official

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Forces loyal to the Yemeni government and supported by the Arab coalition flash their arms at a road on the entrance to Abyan province as they take part in an operation to drive al-Qaeda fighters out of the southern provincial capital, on April 23rd, 2016. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

The Security Belt Forces in Abyan province have confirmed their readiness and ability to protect the province’s districts against the infiltration of extremist groups, stressing on Monday (July 1st) that al-Qaeda’s recapture of any area is now "impossible".

Security Belt Forces Commander in al-Mahfad, Rashad Ali, said while inspecting military checkpoints and positions in the district that his forces are prepared and capable of protecting al-Mahfad from terror group infiltrations.

"It is now impossible for al-Qaeda elements to return and control the province’s districts in the presence of forces supported by the Arab coalition," he said.

These forces are there to "enhance security and stability and combat terrorism in liberated southern provinces", he said.

"Our forces are securing al-Mahfad district... after clearing it of the elements of evil and terrorism that are linked to al-Qaeda," he added.

"The return of those terrorists to al-Mahfad is impossible given the security efforts that are now underway to clear the remaining hideouts and strongholds where those elements are barricaded in remote and rough mountainous areas," he said.

New checkpoints deployment plan

Field inspections of military positions and checkpoints of the Security Belt Forces in al-Mahfad are part of measures taken to step up combat readiness after a string of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) attacks by al-Qaeda in recent weeks.

Yemen’s Interior Ministry has issued new directives to the security agencies in Abyan to step up security readiness and maintain peace, and stressed the need to draw up a new checkpoints deployment plan to secure all areas.

"IEDs are now the only tool available for terrorists who had been defeated and forced to flee the district thanks to the Security Belt Forces’ efforts and the support of the Arab coalition," Al-Mahfad director-general Ahmed al-Rabie said.

Commander Rashad Ali "is making huge efforts through his frequent field inspections of military positions and checkpoints in the district," he told Al-Mashareq.

In mid-June 2019, the Security Belt Forces Command in al-Mahfad restructured its forces and replaced all commanders of military checkpoints, al-Rabie said.

"Al-Qaeda will not be able to control any area in Abyan as long as the Security Belt Forces are combat-ready, the Arab Coalition continues to provide support, and the local population continues to co-operate with security forces," journalist Faisal Ahmed said.

"Security forces have succeeded in securing Abyan’s districts after defeating al-Qaeda elements, who are now trying to target them with IEDs," he told Al-Mashareq.

"This shows the state of weakness that al-Qaeda has now reached," he said.

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Expelling al-Qaeda from Abyan?! Aren’t you ashamed? This is a farce; they were paid to be expelled, and if they want to go back, they will. Just stop the support and see the results.