Dozens killed by Al Qaeda mines in south Yemen |
Gulf Times - 01 July, 2012
More than 50 Yemenis were killed by mines planted by Al Qaeda-linked fighters as they fled two of their main strongholds in Yemen’s restive south this month, the defence ministry said yesterday.
Ansar Al Shariah, a group which swears allegiance to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), seized control of several cities in Abyan province last year during a wave of protests that forced former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.
Yemen’s army drove the militants out of the provincial capital Zinjibar and strategic city Jaar last month, a major breakthrough in a US-backed offensive aimed at securing stability in the wider Gulf region.
The militants planted thousands of mines before they left the strongholds, the defence ministry said on its website, citing Ahmed Ghaleb al-Rahwi, the deputy governor of Abyan.
“More than 50 citizens have been killed by mines planted by the terrorists before they fled Zinjibar, Jaar,” said al-Rahwi. The dead included Yemeni civilians and soldiers, said government sources.
Al-Rahwi said that de-mining and the restoration of electricity and water in Jaar had allowed most of those displaced in the fighting to return home.
Mines were still being removed from Zinjibar so residents should not return yet, he added.