Ye­men pres­i­dent vis­its for­mer Qaeda bas­tion

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

ADEN:

Ye­men’s Pres­i­dent Abedrabbo Man­sour Hadi vis­ited Mukalla on the south­east coast yes­ter­day, an of­fi­cial said, his first trip there since loy­al­ist forces re­took it from Al-Qaeda in April. Hadi and Prime Min­is­ter Ahmed bin Dagher met po­lit­i­cal and mil­i­tary of­fi­cials from across Mukalla’s Hadra­mawt prov­ince, the of­fi­cial said. The pres­i­dent praised ef­forts in the prov­ince to “erad­i­cate the forces of evil and ter­ror­ism” and bring “se­cu­rity and sta­bil­ity” back to Mukalla.

Quoted by the of­fi­cial news agency Saba, Hadi stressed the need to “tighten our ranks to meet the chal­lenges we face”, a ref­er­ence to Al-Qaeda fight­ers still ac­tive across the vast prov­ince. Ye­men’s in­ter­na­tion­ally rec­og­nized govern­ment has been based in sec­ond city Aden since it was re­taken from Shi­ite Houthi rebels last year.

Re­tak­ing Mukalla was fa­cil­i­tated by the in­ter­ven­tion of Emi­rati spe­cial forces, mem­bers of a Saudi-led coali­tion that backs Hadi’s govern­ment. A lo­cal of­fi­cial sur­vived an as­sas­si­na­tion at­tempt yes­ter­day in Shibam, around 100 km north of Mukalla, in an at­tack se­cu­rity sources blamed on Al-Qaeda. They said Faraj Neji sur­vived an am­bush but two of his guards were killed. Loy­al­ist forces have been strug­gling to se­cure ter­ri­tory taken by the Houthis since the sum­mer of 2015.

A mil­i­tary of­fi­cial said yes­ter­day that five rebels were killed in a coali­tion air raid in the south­ern Shabwa prov­ince. Also in Shabwa, three armed tribesman were killed in an am­bush by fight­ers be­long­ing to the Ye­meni branch of Al-Qaeda, se­cu­rity of­fi­cials said. Ye­men’s con­flict has al­lowed ji­hadist or­ga­ni­za­tions in­clud­ing Al-Qaeda and the Is­lamic State group to ex­pand, mainly in the coun­try’s vast desert east. In the north, a Saudi sol­dier was killed in a cross-border fire­fight with rebels, the in­te­rior min­istry in Riyadh said yes­ter­day.

A border post was at­tacked overnight by Houthis, a spokesman said, adding that a sol­dier wounded in the ex­change died be­fore reach­ing hos­pi­tal. He was the lat­est of at least 111 Saudi sol­diers and civil­ians to be killed in the coun­try’s south since the king­dom launched a coali­tion to bat­tle the Ye­meni in­sur­gents in March 2015. The Ye­men con­flict has killed some 7,000 peo­ple since the Saudiled in­ter­ven­tion, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions. —AFP

SANAA: Ye­me­nis walk through a mar­ket in the old city of the cap­i­tal yes­ter­day. —AP

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