(Reuters) – At least two militants and two soldiers died in an al Qaeda assault on an army base in southern Yemen early on Monday, officials and residents said, in another sign of unraveling security.
The assault on the base in Mahfad in Abyan province was a setback for the country’s splintered military which, alongside local militiamen, had largely expelled Al Qaeda from the area’s towns in 2013.
Local sources told Reuters the battle was ongoing and army reinforcements backed by dozens of the armed “popular committees” had come to the soldiers’ aid.
Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), one of the most active arms of the global militant group, has grown more powerful since “Arab Spring” uprisings rocked Yemen in 2011 and led to splits in its military…
Related: Yemen Houthis launch ‘martyr’ videos to raise morale: (Reuters) – Iranian-allied Houthi militants have released videos made by their fighters before they were killed in action which highlight the sectarian nature of the conflict in Yemen.
The Shi’ite Muslim group seized the capital Sanaa and much of the north in September and have since battled Sunni tribesmen backed by al Qaeda militants in Yemen’s central mountains, fighting in which dozens of people have been killed every week.
Sixteen videos posted online by the Houthi channel al-Masira in an apparent bid to boost morale show bearded fighters in green headbands brandishing rifles, urging obedience to their leader Abdel Malik al-Houthi and praising death in the cause of “holy war”.
Related: Ousted Yemeni President Declares Aden New Capital City: Yemen’s ousted President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who fled to Aden after escaping from the Houthi Shiite militia controlling Yemen’s capital city Sanaa, has declared the southern port city of Aden as the country’s new capital city.
“Aden became the capital of Yemen as soon as the Houthis occupied Sanaa,” Hadi said over the weekend, referencing the takeover of the city in September 2014 by the Iranian-backed Houthis.