The National (UAE)
Jun 21, 2011
SANA’A // Government raids and US drone attacks in Yemen are focusing on Islamic militant targets in Abyan province, ignoring the more dangerous Al Qaeda stronghold of Shabwa province, a senior defence ministry official said yesterday.
Among the targets has been the Jaar farm of Khaled Abdul Nabi, considered one of the most powerful Islamic militants in Yemen since the early 1990s, according to the interior ministry.
“More than 85 per cent of the fighters killed in Abyan over the last three weeks have not been Al Qaeda members. Militants in Abyan and other areas in the south are well-known Jihadists, but we cannot prove their links to Al Qaeda,” said the official. Last week, the interior ministry said it arrested 10 militants in Aden believed to be fighters with links to Mr Nabi.
Qasem Bin Hadi, head of security in Zinjibar, Abyan, said that the majority of the militants killed were terrorists.
“Who said that only Al Qaeda is a terrorist group in Yemen? These militants are causing as much problems for Yemen as Al Qaeda,” Mr Hadi said, adding that Abyan has turned into a ghost town and that clashes between government forces and militants are non-stop.