Al Qaeda militants quit south Yemen town of Jaar, nonetheless in Zinjibar: residents

ADEN, Yemen Al Qaeda militants who fought their way into the southern Yemeni town of Jaar on Wednesday have withdrawn and police are back in manage, though the Islamist fighters remain in the nearby town of Zinjibar, residents mentioned on Thursday.

The militants, who belong to a nearby affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) known as Ansar al-Sharia, took over Jaar in an early morning surprise attack, exploiting the collapse of central authority in Yemen’s civil war.

It was the second time in four years they had captured the town, in the province of Abyan about 50 km (30 miles) east of the port city of Aden. They withdrew hours later, following blowing up the home of the commander of a regional tribal militia group, the residents said.

About a dozen fighters from both sides were killed in the attack, which came as a Saudi-led coalition is attempting to defeat Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthis, who captured large parts of the country from President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi more than the final year. Hadi who only lately returned to Aden from exile.

In Zinjibar, about ten km (6 miles) south of Jaar, residents stated that al Qaeda fighters had also briefly deployed on the streets on Wednesday ahead of returning to their compound. The militants have long had a presence in the town, the provincial capital of Abyan, with out completely controlling it, they mentioned.

They described the al Qaeda force as mostly regional tribesmen who had helped fend off attempts by the Iran-allied Houthis to advance in the location earlier this year.

Jaar residents stated on Thursday that the militants withdrew quietly from the town and regrouped at an old ammunition factory 25-30 km (15-20 miles) away.

“It appears they had withdrawn from the city at night, and all is quiet now,” resident Mohammed Suhail told Reuters by phone. A nearby police supply also said that police have been back in handle.

Components of Abyan such as Zinjibar and Jaar fell to Islamist militants in 2011 for over a year as government control waned during Arab Spring protests.

Along the coast in Aden, President Hadi, backed by the Saudi-led coalition, is attempting to oversee military operations aimed at driving the Houthis out of the city of Taiz.

A Yemeni military source mentioned Sudanese soldiers in the Saudi-Arab alliance trying to shore up Hadi, along with Yemeni fighters loyal to the president, had been involved in fierce battles overnight in the town of al-Shraijah, southeast of Taiz.

The supply stated a Sudanese soldier died in the fighting, along with 10 Houthi fighters, even though three militiamen from the pro-Hadi force had been wounded.

Sudan’s army spokesman Khalifa Alshami confirmed that heavy battles have been underway, but denied that any Sudanese soldiers had been killed or wounded.

Sudan deployed a battalion of soldiers in the Aden region in October, bolstering the Saudi-led forces trying to hold out the Houthis and curb the growing presence of Islamist militants.

(Further reporting by Maaz Alnugomi in Khartoum, writing by Sami Aboudi, editing by Dominic Evans)

Agen Sabung Ayam