Sunday, 3 October 2010

30,000 Yemeni soldiers to guard Gulf Cup amid Al Qaeda fears

Source: Xinhua news agency, 03/10/2010
Aden- Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said on Saturday that about 30,000 soldiers were prepared to guard the upcoming 20th Gulf Cup football championship scheduled to be held in the southern port city of Aden from Nov. 22 to Dec. 4, state media reported.

Saleh made his remarks in Aden after visiting the newly-built stadiums where the tournament will be taken place, with the participation of the six Arab Gulf states as well as Iraq and the host Yemen, state-run news agency Saba said.

"Security measures were tightened with deploying 30,000 soldiers, as well as establishing barricades and checkpoints around the stadiums and the highways that linked Aden with its neighboring provinces of Abyan and Lahj," Saleh said.

"There is no need to worry about al-Qaida's threats," Saleh said, adding that "the security forces have cracked down the terrorists in Abyan province and have been continually hunting al- Qaida members wherever they are."

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has reportedly been a strong presence in south and southeast provinces of the impoverished Arab country.

Besides worries of resurgent al-Qaida regional wing, and fragile truce with northern Houthi-led Shiite rebels, Yemen has also been facing growing troubles with armed separatist movement in the south which seeks to secede southern part from the north since 2007.

On Aug. 4, a senior official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua that things concerning Yemen and its neighboring Gulf countries most were al-Qaida. "We do not fear any possible riots from the southern separatists, but a small attack by al-Qaida will be a disaster to the tournament," he said on condition of anonymity.

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