News / Middle East

Yemeni Troops Recapture Southern Cities from al-Qaida

Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
x
Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
Members of the Republican Guards Force gather for a group picture at the frontline of fighting against al Qaeda-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
Michael LipinMargaret Besheer
Yemeni officials say government troops have recaptured two al-Qaida strongholds in the country's south after a month-long offensive against the militant group, which seized the areas more than a year ago.

Officials said Tuesday that Yemeni troops and their tribal allies took full control of Abyan's provincial capital, Zinjibar, and the town of Jaar to the north. They said government forces also re-opened a major highway linking Abyan with the southern port of Aden.

Yemeni officials said troops drove into Jaar early Tuesday after a battle that killed 20 militants and four soldiers. Residents celebrated the soldiers' arrival by firing weapons into the air. Hours later, officials said the troops completed the takeover of Zinjibar.

Al-Qaida militants seized parts of Abyan last year while the government was pre-occupied with fighting a pro-democracy uprising against then-President Ali Abdullah Saleh. His successor Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi launched a U.S.-backed military offensive last month to recapture those areas.

  • Army soldiers guard the gate of the local authority's compound in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar after the army retook the city from al-Qaida-linked militants, June 12, 2012.
  • A military vehicle and tanks drive near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar after the army retook the city from al-Qaida-linked militants, June 12, 2012.
  • A building damaged during fighting between army forces and al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar, June 12, 2012.
  • Army tanks drive on a street in the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar, June 12, 2012.
  • Yemen's Defence Minister Major General Ahmad visits the front line of fighting between army forces and al-Qaida-linked militants in Abyan, June 10, 2012.
  • Members of the Republican Guards Force at the front line of fighting against al-Qaida-linked militants in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan, June 10, 2012.
  • Yemeni army forces fire a missile towards positions of al-Qaida-linked militants in Abyan, June 10, 2012.
Yemeni Troops Recapture Cities From al-Qaida (View Photo Gallery)
Government victory

Brookings Doha Center conflict resolution expert Ibrahim Sharqieh told VOA the fall of the al-Qaida strongholds represents a major victory for Mr. Hadi, who took office in February.

Speaking by phone from Qatar, he said he expects Yemeni troops to advance on another city, Shuqra, in the coming days.

"If the army is able to take this city back, then we should be talking about al-Qaida disappearing from major cities in Abyan," he said.

Sharqieh said one factor contributing to al-Qaida's downfall in the region is that local communities turned against the group.

"They have showed whether it is in the first city of Lawdar or now in Jaar or Zinjibar that the local militia, local communities collaborated highly with the Yemeni army and they fought alongside to expel al-Qaida fighters from their cities," he said. "This has been truly a key factor for their success."

The Brookings expert said President Hadi's ability to take control of army divisions from allies of his predecessor also helped the Yemeni military's fight against al-Qaida.

Mr. Saleh's critics had long accused him of holding back the military from defeating al-Qaida in order to fuel instability in the country and justify a continuation of his three-decade long autocratic rule.

UN warning

The military moves come as the U.N. Security Council sent a strong message Tuesday to all stakeholders in Yemen’s political process, saying if they undermine the country’s political transition to democracy they could face international sanctions.

The 15-nation Security Council voted unanimously for a resolution calling on all Yemeni actors to reject violence, hold an inclusive national dialogue and stop undermining the political transition put in motion.

If that fails, the council will consider sanctions against those obstructing the process.

British Ambassador Mark Lyall Grant, who was one of the sponsors of the text, said potential spoilers should read the resolution carefully.

“Because it makes clear that any spoilers, those who are trying to disrupt the transition, disrupt the national dialogue, disrupt the national unity government, will be held accountable," he said. "And the council expresses itself ready to adopt measures under Article 41, which as you know, includes various sanctions measures for all those who are trying to spoil the process.”

Yemen’s Ambassador Jamal Al Salal welcomed the resolution. He said Yemen has made significant progress, but difficulties and challenges persist. He said the country is facing a deteriorating humanitarian situation and shortages of basic services and security threats.

Lipin reported from Washington and Besheer from the United Nations.

Michael Lipin

Michael covers international news for VOA on the web, radio and TV, specializing in the Middle East and East Asia Pacific. Follow him on Twitter @Michael_Lipin

You May Like

Philippines, Muslim Rebels Try to Salvage Peace Pact

Peace process faces major setback after botched military operation to find terrorists results in bloody gunbattle between government forces, Moro Islamic Liberation Front fighters More

Republicans Expect Long, Expensive Presidential Battle

Political strategist says eventual winner will be one who can put together strongest coalition of various conservative groups that make up Republican Party More

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Engineers have come up with a lever-operated design that makes use of easily accessible bicycle technology More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Bahlwl from: yemen
June 13, 2012 3:54 PM
Ali Abdulla Saleh and his son are supporting al-Qaida to make Yemen not steady

by: Bahlwl from: yemen
June 13, 2012 3:45 PM
That the United States victory
Our victory will be when Ali Abdulla Saleh and his son go out from Yemen

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regreti
X
Zana Omer
March 28, 2015 1:19 AM
The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

The Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Virginia Tavern Takes Patrons Back to Medieval Times

European martial arts are not widely practiced and are unknown by most people. A tavern in Old Town Alexandria, outside Washington, wants to change this by promoting these fighting techniques from medieval times. Through combining visual arts, martial arts and culinary arts, this tavern brings medieval history back to life. VOA's Yang Lin and Helen Wu report.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More