Source: AFP, By Hammoud Mounassar 05/06/2010
SANAA — A Yemeni colonel and two of his bodyguards were killed in an attack by suspected Al-Qaeda members on Saturday near the city of Marib east of the capital, tribal and military sources said.
"Colonel Mohammed Saleh al-Shaief and two bodyguards were killed when his vehicle was fired upon by Al-Qaeda members" from another car, the source said.
Shaief, 43, was travelling with a convoy to inspect military forces stationed in the Safar oil field when the attack occurred south of Marib, the source added.
A military source in Marib confirmed that Shaief and two bodyguards were killed in an attack, but did not accuse Al-Qaeda of being behind it.
A local official said an Al-Qaeda member named Hassan Abdullah Saleh al-Uqaili led the attack.
The 28-year-old is on a government wanted list, which identifies him as being from the Harib area, south of Marib.
Meanwhile, a security source said that an Al-Qaeda member named Ghalib al-Zaidi surrendered to Yemeni authorities in the Marib province on Saturday.
Zaidi is wanted by the government for Al-Qaeda activities, the source said.
In late May, provincial official Jaber Ali al-Shabwani and four of his bodyguards were killed in an air strike in Marib province that targeted a wanted Al-Qaeda suspect.
The suspect, named as Mohammed Said bin Jardan, was wounded but managed to escape, security sources said.
The deaths sparked a string of revenge attacks in Marib by members of the Al-Shabwan tribe -- on the oil pipeline from the Safar field, petrol stations, army positions and a government building.
Two tribesmen were also killed and a policeman was wounded in the unrest.
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered an investigation into the unrest, and the high security council vowed to continue efforts against Al-Qaeda.
Yemen is the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and has been the scene of several attacks claimed by the group on foreign missions, tourist sites and oil installations.
Marib is one of Al-Qaeda's strongholds in Yemen.
The group has suffered setbacks amid US pressure on the government to crack down. But its presence threatens to turn Yemen into a base for training and plotting attacks, a senior US counter-terrorism official said in September.
In addition to the Al-Qaeda threat, Yemen -- the Arab world's poorest country -- is also contending with a separatist movement in the south and the aftermath of a six-year uprising by Zaidi Shiite rebels in the far north.