Monday, 20 June 2011

Yemen: Twelve suspected Al-Qai'da militants killed in Zinjibar

Yemeni officials have said that the country's troops have killed 12 suspected Al-Qai'da militants near the southern town of Zinjibar. It is believed that the rebels were targeted while planting roadside bombs.

It has also emerged that two soldiers were killed when armed men attacked a military base close to the town. Yemeni officials have said that the al-Qai'da is exploiting a security vacuum within the country due to the on-going political turmoil.

On Sunday 19th June, more anti-government demonstrations were held in the capital city of Sana'a and the southern city of Taiz. Last month, Islamist militants took over Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, making the government's grip on the country weaker than ever.

Yemen is split between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's loyalist in the south and tribesmen and renegade military units in the north. There a fears that the situation is getting out of control and could potentially lead to a civil war.

The protests against Saleh's rule intensified after the president reneged on a deal brokered by the Gulf Arab states to secure a peaceful end to his time in office. Late on Thursday 2nd May, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), whose power transition plan Saleh refused to sign three times, said it would continue its efforts towards a "peaceful solution".

Saleh is currently in Saudi Arabia, where he recently underwent surgery for injuries sustained during an attack on his compound in Sana'a. It is yet unclear when and if he will ever return to Yemen.

Sources: BBC News, Reuters, Bloomberg

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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