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OVER 130 KILLED IN YEMEN’S SOUTHERN ABYAN PROVINCE

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The number of people killed in fighting between soldiers and militants linked to Al Qaeda in Yemen on Sunday 03/04/2012, has risen to more than 130, officials said. Dozens of soldiers were killed in the battle at an army post in southern Yemen and 50 were taken prisoner. At least 20 of the attackers are said to have died.

The clashes took place in the southern province of Abyan, west of the provincial capital and militant-held town of Zinjibar, known as a stronghold of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and a subject to numerous anti-Al Qaeda operations in the past (see – Abyan 08.30.11). The fighting flared following twin suicide bombings targeting military posts in Zinjibar earlier on Sunday. Islamists began taking control of parts of the province of Abyan in 05/2011 and security forces have been battling them since (see – Zinjibar 05.29.11).

Although the militants are said to be from Al Qaeda, it is thought they could have links with ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh who formally relinquished power a week ago (see – Mukalla 02.25.12).

According to one report quoting an army source, the fighters took some of the army’s heavy weapons before pulling back to Zinjibar, and were assisted, he alleged, by army leaders who had served under the former president (see – THE INGREDIENTS OF THE MEAS”T).

 

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