Source: AFP, 05/12/2010
ADEN, Yemen — Four men accused of forming an armed group linked to Al-Qaeda and planning criminal acts went on trial Saturday in Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province, a judiciary official told AFP.
Two of the four men, who are also accused of procuring passports to join Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia and sheltering wanted militants have accepted the charges, while the other two have denied them.
The next hearing has been scheduled for December 18.
Separately, four alleged Al-Qaeda militants surrendered to authorities in the restive Abyan province in southern Yemen, a security official told AFP on Saturday.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the four men are wanted for links to the recent violence in Abyan's towns of Loder and Moudia in which dozens of soldiers were killed.
Tribal dignitaries from Loder have convinced the alleged militants to surrender, he added.
Yemen's defence ministry and a source close to the provincial governor said early last month that 14 other suspected Al-Qaeda members, five of them leaders of the network's local branch in Abyan, had surrendered in the same province.
Abyan and adjacent Shabwa province have become major fields of operation for Al-Qaeda as the central government in Sanaa struggles to impose control on the region's heavily armed tribes.
Yemen, the ancestral homeland of Osama bin Laden, is battling an Al-Qaeda resurgence, sporadic Shiite rebellion in the north and separatist unrest in the south of the country.