Abyan Province is a mountainous region 450 km Southern of the capital Sanaa, in Yemen bordering from the South the Indian Ocean and from South West the port town Aden, once a British colony. The main town in Abyan is Nibin. The region is the known as the stronghold of Khaled Abdul-Nabi.
On 03/02/2004 Yemeni Special forces, commanded by Ahmed Ali Saleh, the son of the Yemeni President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and the commander of the Yemeni Special Forces, launched a special operation in the region aimed to uproot Al Qaeda infrastructure in the region and to capture fugitives wanted by the Yemen authorities for the Limburg Attack and were preparing other attacks in Yemen against foreign embassies and oil facilities.
On 03/04/2003 Ahmed Ali Saleh was shot and badly wounded by one of his officers identified as Ali al-Marani. The officer was killed on the spot by other soldiers. It was unclear whether the shooting was related to a campaign against extremist groups in the district of Abyan.
The operation lasted about two weeks and was, eventually, a very successful. A large group of most senior Al Qaeda operatives in Yemen were captured in the operation including: Qassim al-Raimi, Fahd al-Quso, Jamal al-Badawi, Abdul Raouf Nassib, the Egyptian fugitive militant Sayed Imam el-Sharif, who is said to be an influential member of Al Qaida as well as a former leader of EGYPTIAN Islamic Jihad, and others.