Saturday, 10 September 2011

Two towns liberated from Al Qaeda in south Yemen

President Saleh congratulates army for victory, and thanks Saudi Arabia for logistic cooperation and United States for intelligence

By Nasser Arrabyee/10/09/2011
Al Qaeda operatives escaped from two towns south of Yemen after being defeated by the government troops that received logistic and intelligence support from Saudi Arabia and United States, said officials and local sources in the two towns on Saturday.

After redeployment of army and security forces inside and around the city , the security and military officials held a meeting on Saturday inside the capital of the southern province, Zinjubar which was held by Al Qaeda late last May.

Although the army is not yet controlling the second town of Ja'ar, local residents said the town has become free from Al Qaeda fighters after the airstrikes of last week.

Fighters from both towns escaped to the mountains of Hatat, the historic stronghold of Aden-Abyan army of Jihadists in the same province, the sources said.

Counter-terrorism forces were deployed all over the city of Zinjubar since early Saturday, security sources in Zinjubar said. While three army brigades were redeployed around the city.

"We arrived here early morning today to preserve the security in Zinjubar," said an officer from the unit of counter-terrorism which was sent from the capital Sana’a three weeks ago.

The officer, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media, said his counter-terrorism unit waited in Aden for about three weeks after they were sent from Sana’a to preserve security in Zinjubar.

"We waited until the army cleansed it from Al Qaeda," the officer said.

The local government of Zinjubar is expected to restart work in their offices from Saturday.

The governor of Abyan, Saleh Al Zawari expressed his pride in a letter to President Saleh and his deputy of the victory and liberating Zinjubar from Al Qaeda operatives.

The military commanders of the southern region, Mahdi Makwalah, and Mohammed Al Sawmali, and Faisal Rajab held a meeting the headquarters of the local government of Zinjubar on Saturday to pave the way for the governor and other officials to return to their work.

For Ja’ar, local residents said that the fighters of Al Qaeda escaped to Hatat before the airstrikes of last week that targeted a hospital, mosque and other places.

“The fighters took 26 injured fighters from Al Razi hospital just hours before it was bombed by the airplanes last week and they took them to unknown place,” the local resident Mansour, who works in the hospital, said.

“Now the town of Ja’ar is empty from Al Qaeda, but people here are still afraid of possible attack from the army like what happened over the last two days in Zinjubar,” added Mansour who preferred not to give his full name.

The President Saleh congratulated his army for crushing Al Qaeda and restoring the city of Zinjubar. In a lengthy letter sent from Saudi Arabia to minister of defense and all generals of his army in the southern region, Saleh said “ The victory came from Allah and because of the direct supervision and good planning of vice president and the cooperation of citizens.”

In his letter which was published by the State-run media, Saleh thanked Saudi Arabia for logistic cooperation and United States for intelligence cooperation.

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