Yemen: Clashes continue between al-Qaida and armed forces

YEMEN: 18 militants and five soldiers were reported dead by army official in Yemen after al-Qaida militants attacked an army post in the town of Lawder in Abyan province. One of the dead soldier was a colonel whilst the attack led to three other soldiers being injured.

Civilians and the anti al-Qaida committees have joined hands with the soldiers and have taken up the fight against the notorious group. The fight initiated at dawn when the militants tried to enter the town of Lawder. This was followed by a ferocious gun fight between the militants, the Yemeni army and the anti- al Qaida committees. After a fierce battle, the militants had to move back.

The attack clearly showed that the al Qaida had grown in power and had taken great advantage from the civil uprising and political instability within the region. al Qaida, as it is known within the Yemeni region, has grown heavily within the region and is considered to be the most notorious subsidiary of the former Osama led party. The  power of the Yemen based al-Qaida has grown so immense in the region that they have captured several cities and towns within the country.

Following the shift of Presidency after the uprising within the region, the sitting President, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, has vowed to fight back hard against the al-Qaida group and to throw them out of the region.  Mr. Hadi showed his content by shuffling the army hierarchy in which the former President’s relatives still hold key offices.

In order to reorganize the army, Hadi threw out many key personnel and relatives loyal to the former President, including the air-force commander Mohammed Saleh al-Ahmar (half brother to the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh). This redundancy led to an outrage from Ahmar resulting in the closure of the Sanaa airport by his loyal forces. The airport was opened late on Sunday when Ahmar retracted his decision and left the air-force headquarters. Sources are of the view that this reversal in Ahmar’s decision was because of the increasing pressure from several parties including the Western ambassadors in Sanaa