Terrorism

Soldiers killed in al-Qaeda attack on Abyan checkpoint

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden

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Fighters of the UAE-trained Security Belt Forces, dominated by members of the Southern Transitional Council, man a checkpoint on the outskirts of Abyan province on August 29th, 2019. [Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP]

Al-Qaeda elements on Monday (December 7th) attacked a Security Belt Forces checkpoint in Yemen's Abyan province, killing six soldiers, security sources said.

"Al-Qaeda gunmen launched a surprise attack on a Security Belt Forces checkpoint at the entrance of Lawdar," the Moral Guidance Department of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) Security Belt Forces said in a statement.

Five soldiers were killed on the spot, and a sixth soldier later died of his wounds, the statement said.

Yemen's President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi sent a message of condolence to the victims' families.

Al-Qaeda has exploited the delay in the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement to carry out attacks, including Monday's attack in Lawdar, said Deputy Minister of Human Rights Nabil Abdul Hafeez.

It has been a full year since Yemen's government and the STC signed the power sharing agreement, which calls for the formation of a national government of technocrats with equal representation of the north and south.

The agreement also calls for the integration of STC forces into the Yemeni army and security forces, Abdul Hafeez said.

"Delays in the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement will create holes that are against the interests of the legitimate government, STC, all national forces, and the country as a whole," he said.

"The Riyadh Agreement was intended to unify the national forces under a government working with a national spirit and to co-ordinate efforts against the main enemy, the Iran-backed Houthis (Ansarallah)," he said.

The goal is to bring the Houthis' coup to an end, he added.

Abdul Hafeez urged all parties to move ahead with the implementation of the military and political aspects of the agreement.

"We ask everyone to resort to reason and to forge ahead with the implementation of the Riyadh Agreement," he said.

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