Six members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have been killed in a battle with government forces backed by the UAE in south-east Yemen.
"The fighting flared up between our forces and a cell affiliated with Al Qaeda in Wadi Sur, in the mountainous chain that stretches between Al Musainya area and the district of Markha to the north of Shabwa," Col Mohammed Al Bowhar, commander of the elite forces in Shabwa, told The National yesterday.
“The elite forces of Shabwa were able to liberate more than three sites occupied by members of Al Qaeda,” he said.
Many terrorists were injured, Col Al Bowhar said, but the cell had the time to withdraw its wounded as the mountainous terrain made it difficult for the UAE-backed forces to encircle the gunmen.
“We have accurate information that the terrorist groups have fled Abyan and large swathes of Shabwa to the areas that I mentioned,” Col Al Bowhar said.
“In Shabwa, we have led many offensives against them in different areas in the province. Such offensives enabled us to liberate Al Eain district and Al Saeed area, which was the main shelter for the terrorist groups in Shabwa.”
"Col Al Bowhar said that his forces had taken modern weapons and ammunition from the terrorists in the operation that drove the insurgents out of Wadi Sur on Friday.
His troops also found propaganda, including documents filled with Al Qaeda slogans, and papers pertaining to non-Yemenis that indicated foreign fighters were used to bolster the ranks of the militant group.
Earlier this month, sources in Al Baiydha province, to the south of the capital Sanaa, confirmed that ISIS gunmen had clashed with Al Qaeda fighters in the mountains of Qaiyfa.
ISIS terrorists attacked an Al Qaeda base, killing more than 11 members . The group later launched a counter-attack and killed more than 18 members of ISIS.
Meanwhile, Yemeni security officials and tribal leaders said that a boat carrying more than 160 African migrants sank off Shabwa province. It is not clear if there have been any fatalities or if any of the migrants have been rescued.
The authorities and tribal leaders said the boat left the Somalia port of Bosaso carrying 100 Somalis and 60 Ethiopians, including women and children.
Yemen is racked by conflict, but African migrants continue to arrive in the country where there is no central authority to prevent them from travelling on to Gulf countries.