Two Security Belt Forces soldiers were killed and another was wounded when an improvised explosive device (IED) planted by suspected al-Qaeda elements exploded in Abyan province on Thursday (August 22nd), local media reported.
The IED was planted on a public road outside a Security Belt Forces camp in al-Mahfad district.
The victims are from the Security Belt Forces’ rapid response units.
The UAE-trained troops have conducted a large-scale sweep of the area "to secure the district and clear it of al-Qaeda terrorists", al-Mahfad director-general Ahmed al-Rabie told Al-Mashareq.
"Al-Qaeda seeks to target the Security Belt Forces and other units in al-Mahfad because these forces recaptured the area from the terrorists who had controlled it for years," he said.
Al-Qaeda exploits tensions
Al-Qaeda is closely watching the situation in the southern provinces to carry out terror attacks by taking advantage of the prevailing tension, after the Southern Transitional Forces (STC) drove government troops out of al-Kawd and Zinjibar military camps in Abyan, political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.
The two sides engaged in deadly clashes on August 20th, before the separatists took control of the two camps, reinforcing their presence in the south.
The latest clashes in Abyan came after the pro-independence STC partially withdrew from key sites it occupied in neighbouring Aden earlier this month after Saudi-brokered peace talks.
This conflict "will only serve the terrorists whom the security and military forces, supported by the Arab Coalition, had already ousted from Abyan", Ahmed said.
Security Belt Forces on August 2nd responded to an al-Qaeda attack on an army base in al-Mahfad, in which 19 soldiers were killed.
Gunmen stormed the army base and remained inside for several hours before military reinforcements came.
"Al-Qaeda's attack on the Security Belt Forces camp was thwarted because security forces, supported by the Shabwa Elite Forces and Arab Coalition, acted jointly," Ahmed said, urging for continued co-operation between them in order to not allow for al-Qaeda and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) to regroup and launch more attacks.