News / Middle East

Al-Qaida Militants Kill 20 Yemeni Soldiers

Edward Yeranian
Yemeni officials report al-Qaida militants killed at least 20 soldiers in a raid Monday on a military base in the country's south.  Some reports describe the attack as retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that apparently killed a top al-Qaida leader involved in the bombing of a U.S. Navy warship in 2000.

It was just the latest in a series of al-Qaida attacks on Yemeni government troops in and near Abyan province in recent months.

Al-Qaida militants reportedly attacked the army base from both land and sea, causing many casualties.

Reuters news agency reported that a spokesman for the group claims to have captured 28 soldiers and a tank in the predawn attack.  A similar raid on another Yemeni military outpost in March killed about 100 government soldiers.

The assault came less than a day after Yemeni officials said an air strike in southern Yemen had killed al-Qaida militant Fahd al-Quso, accused of involvement in the 2000 attack on the USS Cole at the port of Aden.  Quso was on the "most wanted" list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Al-Qaida forces took control of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, in May last year during the popular uprising against then-President Ali Abdallah Saleh.  The group, known as Ansar al Shariah, set up a self-styled Islamic emirate in parts of the region.

Arab satellite channels recently broadcast a message by Ansar al Shariah urging government soldiers to surrender to the group to receive a “pardon.”  A photo published about ten days ago purportedly shows the head of the group releasing a number of captive soldiers.

However, Stephen Steinbeiser, who heads the American Institute for Yemeni Studies in Sanaa, does not believe al-Qaida is gaining popularity across the country.

“They haven't been able to really come into the cities, at least as far as we can tell.  And, they don't really have a cohesive, attractive message right now. If they can develop one and if they somehow receive funding to actually support it with money, then I think people will find it more attractive, but right now it doesn't seem like they have broad support,” Steinbeiser said.

Steinbeiser also stresses that the new Yemeni government, under the leadership of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has been working to overcome many problems that arose during the lengthy popular uprising to oust former president Saleh.

"There is a sense that Hadi is getting stronger, especially with the re-arranging, the shuffling of the army. I am actually kind of impressed by how the transitional government has been able to get on top of things like that. If the army falls apart then al-Qaida can pretty much do whatever it wants, so it's critical to keep the army unified, under control of the government,” Steinbeiser said.

President Hadi recently removed several top former military commanders who are close relatives of former president Saleh, including his son.

You May Like

Official: S. Sudan President, Rebel Leader to Meet in Tanzania

Talks part of effort to end conflict in country that has left more than 10,000 people dead, displaced more than 1.5 million others More

Dutch Deny Link to Mystery Submarine Off Sweden

Netherlands denies Russian claim that 'foreign vessel' photographed in waters off Sweden could be Dutch More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Lawi
X
William Ide
October 20, 2014 10:23 AM
China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Nigeria Agrees to Cease-Fire With Boko Haram

Islamist militant group Boko Haram and the Nigerian government have agreed to a cease-fire. The Nigerian government issued an order Friday, telling all military chiefs "to comply with the cease-fire agreement in all theaters of operations. Why now and the significance of the agreement are questions on some people’s minds. VOA's Mariama Diallo reports.
Video

Video Kobani Fighting Sends 400,000 Refugees to Turkey

The offensive by Islamic State militants against the northern Syrian city of Kobani has caused hundreds of thousands of residents to flee to Turkey. They receive help from Turkish authorities and individuals, but say much more is needed. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from the town of Suruc a few kilometers from the border.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Syrian Defector Leaks Shocking Photos of Torture Victims

Shocking photographs purporting to show Syrian torture victims are on display at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum says the graphic images are among thousands of photographs recently smuggled out of Syria by a military policeman-turned-defector. As VOA reporter Julie Taboh reports, the museum says the photos provide further evidence of atrocities committed by the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad against its own people.
Video

Video Drought-Stricken California Considers Upgrading Water System

A three-year drought in California is causing a water shortage that is being felt on farms and cities throughout the state. As VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports, water experts, consumers and farmers say California needs to make changes to cope with an uncertain future.
Video

Video TechShop Puts High-tech Dreams Within Reach

Square, a business app and card reader, makes it possible to do credit card transactions through cell phones. But what made Square possible? VOA’s Adrianna Zhang and Enming Liu have the answer.

All About America

AppleAndroid