6 Yemeni Soldiers Killed in Fighting
Against Al-Qaeda Fighters
6 soldiers killed in ambush by militants in Yemen
ADEN, Yemen, May 9, 2014 (Xinhua) --
Six Yemeni soldiers were killed and three others wounded when armed
men ambushed government troops in Yemen's southeastern province of al-Bayda
on Friday, a military official told Xinhua.
"Government troops of the 26th Armored Brigade were on their way to
provide reinforcement to a military checkpoint in central al-Bayda
province when their convoy was waylaid and ambushed by suspected
al-Qaida attackers in the region," the local military official said,
He said a firefight erupted between the militants and the government
soldiers and lasted for about an hour, leaving about six soldiers killed
and three others injured on the spot.
A provincial security officer said the incident could be considered
as a "retaliatory action" by the al-Qaida gunmen against the army forces
who have been conducting intensified military operations against their
hideouts in the south.
The Yemeni armed forces backed by mechanized battalions, air force
and special forces have killed, wounded and captured dozens of local and
foreign suspected al-Qaida militants during the offensive that started
two weeks ago.
The bodies of suspected foreign fighters from Algeria, Saudi Arabia,
Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Somalia, Russia's Chechnya and other nations
have been discovered among the dead, local authorities said.
Commanders of the Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula
(AQAP) have vowed to hit back.
Territories in Azzan and Mahfad, two of AQAP's main strongholds, have
also been recaptured by the army troops.
The AQAP, known locally as Ansar al-Sharia, emerged in January 2009.
It is considered the most strategic threat to the Yemeni government and
neighboring oil-rich Saudi Arabia.
Tribal groups attempt to broker peace in Abyan, Shabwa
Yemen Times, 8 May 2014
Ali Saeed (author),
Ali Ibrahim Al-Moshki (author)
Tribal sheikhs in Abyan and Shabwa say they want to mediate
between the army and militants. The army says it will not negotiate
with Al-Qaeda and will eliminate them "at any cost".
6—Separate tribal groups are attempting to broker peace between the
military and alleged Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan and Shabwa governorates
after a week of fighting.
Tribal sheikhs from the Bakazim tribe
in Abyan governorate told the Yemen Times on Tuesday that they are
seeking to mediate between the army and Al-Qaeda militants to bring an
end to the fighting.
The tribe is located in the Al-Mahfad
district, which has been the scene of heavy fighting over the last few
days. The tribe says it is seeking to avoid further civilian deaths and
wants the military to evacuate the area.
The Defense Ministry's
news site on Tuesday quoted an anonymous military source who said that
the security forces would not negotiate with Al-Qaeda under any
"There is no choice for Yemen but to eliminate
terrorists from the country,” the source said.
a tribal sheikh from Al-Mahfad, told the Yemen Times that the tribe held
a meeting on Monday and agreed to offer itself as a mediator between the
army and Al-Qaeda.
“Although we support the army in its fight
against Al-Qaeda militants, we want to stop this war because it will
destroy the district. We want to avoid the destruction,” said Al-Kazimi.
“Some Al-Qaeda militants belong to Al-Mahfad district. We want them
to hand over their weapons, repent, and to live their lives like other
citizens. We, the sheikhs, decided to force our tribesmen who are
engaged in the fighting to give up their weapons. We have assured them
that they will not be killed or handed over to the government,” Al-Kazimi
During the meeting it was decided that ten sheikhs would
negotiate with other tribal leaders who are lending support to Al-Qaeda,
while four other sheikhs have been assigned to negotiate with the
leadership of the Fourth Military Region as a precursor to mediation
efforts, Al-Kazimi said.
A high-ranking officer from the Fourth
Military Region told the Yemen Times that the force has not yet met with
the sheikhs but that they would reject mediation efforts.
Residents voiced varying views on the possibility of mediation.
Some expressed concern that mediation would give militants an
opportunity to re-group in a different area.
governorate, which neighbors Abyan, local tribal leaders on Tuesday
evening agreed on a peace plan that would suspend confrontations in the
area, Sheikh Hamid Al-Karibi, a prominent local leader in Shabwa, told
the Yemen Times.
The plan would see local tribesmen helping
security forces deploy in the Maifa district of Shabwa, while Al-Qaeda
militants in the district would cease attacks on the military, surrender
their heavier weapons, and turn in foreign fighters, according to Al-Karibi.
Armed forces in Shabwa could not be reached for comment on the
Saeed Ubaid Al-Jimhi, chairman of the Al-Jemhi
Studies Center that has conducted research on Al-Qaeda in Yemen, told
the Yemen Times that "tribes in the war zone are affected negatively by
the fighting in their areas and that is why they [tribesmen] propose
"They want Al-Qaeda militants out of their areas," he
He doubted that Al-Qaeda would turn in its foreign fighters
to the Yemeni army or hand over weapons.
The army entered Jawl
Raida city, the capital of Maifa district, on Wednesday morning,
according to Salim Al-Sayel, a journalist in Shabwa.
situation has been relatively calm since Tuesday evening after a
week of clashes between the army and the militants, said one soldier who
is taking part in the fighting in Shabwa.
The solider told the
Yemen Times that 13 troops were killed in an ambush late last week.
"We do not know how many militants were killed because when they
attack us, we fire back and they flee," said the soldier, who requested
anonymity because he is not allowed to speak to the press.
Civilians in Jawl Raida and areas near the conflict zone have already
fled their homes to Ataq city, Al-Sayel said.
Shabwa Alhdath, a
local news website, on Sunday quoted Heilf Al-Fadhool of the Rights and
Freedoms group, a Yemeni NGO, as saying "the army and the armed groups
in some areas [of Shabwa] use citizens as human shields and they
[citizens] are vulnerable to blockade and displacement."
army must exercise the maximum level of caution when civilians are in a
war zone," the organization stressed.
According to Al-Sayel, the
conflict has resulted in food shortages and massive price hikes.
Fahd Ahmed Ali, a soldier in the Fourth Military Region which is
operating in Abyan, said General Mahmoud Al-Subaihi, the commander of
the sector, gave Al-Qaeda militants a 48-hour grace period commencing on
Monday evening to hand over their weapons. According to Ali, the general
warned that the military would enter the Dhaiqa valley, where some
militants have stationed themselves, if the order was not complied with.
On Wednesday, the state-run Saba new agency reported that the
army had entered Dhaiqa valley.
The Defense Ministry also said
Al-Qaeda militants blew-up a government compound in Al-Mahfad on
Tuesday. The Yemen Times could not independently verify the claim.
The military, along with the Popular Committees, began the offensive
on militants in Abyan and Shabwa on April 29. The fighting has left
thousands displaced and scores dead on both sides.