10 killed in Yemen army, Qaeda clashes |
Khaleej Times - 15 June, 2012
Ten people were killed in fighting between Al-Qaeda fighters and the army for control of the jihadists’ stronghold town of Shuqra in southern Yemen’s Abyan province, a local official said on Thursday.
“Clashes using machineguns between Al-Qaeda fighters and the army, backed by local militiamen, left two soldiers dead and 11 wounded,” the official in Shuqra told AFP.
He said eight jihadists were also killed in the fighting late on Wednesday.
Fierce clashes between the fighters and troops trying to retake Shuqra — the only Abyan town besides Mahfad which extremists still hold — broke out earlier the same day.
On Tuesday, the military drove the jihadists out of the provincial capital Zinjibar and Jaar, another town. Al-Qaeda gunmen are believed to have fled east to Shuqra.
Taking advantage of the weakening of central government control by an Arab Spring-inspired uprising last year, the fighters had overrun most of Abyan, taking full control of Zinjibar as well as Jaar, Shuqra and several villages.
On May 12, the Yemeni army launched an all-out offensive to recapture territory lost to the jihadists.
A total of 525 people have died in the campaign — 402 Al-Qaeda militants, 78 soldiers, 26 militiamen and 19 civilians — according to an AFP tally compiled from various sources.
Tuesday’s military victories came just hours before the UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution threatening sanctions against groups seen as undermining Yemen’s political transition.
The main targets of Resolution 2051 are the family and supporters of Yemen’s ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, although they were not named in the text, diplomats in New York said.
Saleh has been accused by his opponents of allowing Al-Qaeda to take hold of large swathes of the country’s south and east and of meddling in the new government’s affairs.
The resolution also backed President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who pledged to destroy Al-Qaeda when he was sworn in as Saleh’s successor in February.