Source: AFP, 17/09/2010
ADEN, Yemen — Two soldiers were killed when their vehicle was ambushed by gunmen in southeast Yemen's restive Shabwa province on Thursday, a security official told AFP.
The soldiers died in a suburb of the town of Mayfaa as their patrol was returning from the site of a failed attack earlier this week on a strategic gas pipeline.
Officials and witnesses said the attackers also used hand grenades and a rocket-propelled grenade in the ambush on the vehicle, which then caught fire. The gunmen managed to escape.
On Monday security forces had surprised a group of armed men who tried to blow up the pipeline in Shabwa, forcing them to flee, an industry official told AFP on Tuesday.
The 320-kilometre (200-mile) gas pipeline between Marib in eastern Yemen and Balhaf runs through Shabwa, an Al-Qaeda stronghold.
Meanwhile, in the southern province of Abyan security forces arrested five people accused of sheltering Al-Qaeda members in the town of Loder, the site of fierce and deadly clashes last month between the militants and soldiers.
According to the interior ministry website, the five were detained "after inquiries and information received that they had given refuge to terrorist elements in Loder."
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, has witnessed an upsurge of activity by his network's local branch, known as Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
The Islamist militants have claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks, including in Loder at the end of August when three days of intense fighting with the security forces killed at least 33 people.