Yemen uncovers al-Qaeda plot to recapture Jaar

Yemeni troops and local tribesmen climb on a military vehicle to pose for a photo as they secure a road leading to Lawdar town. [Khaled Abdullah Ali al-Mahdi/Reuters]

Yemeni troops and local tribesmen climb on a military vehicle to pose for a photo as they secure a road leading to Lawdar town. [Khaled Abdullah Ali al-Mahdi/Reuters]

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Security forces recently uncovered an al-Qaeda plot to re-take control of some areas of Abyan province, including the city of Jaar, the Yemeni Interior Ministry announced.

Security forces in June had scored a crushing blow against al-Qaeda in the province when they recaptured the organisation's previous strongholds of Jaar and Zinjibar.

Al-Qaeda's latest plan "tasked the mission to the remnants of 'Ansar al-Sharia' in Jaar and surrounding areas, as well as to terrorist elements in al-Askaria and Laabous in Lahij province," official Yemeni news agency Saba reported on Tuesday (October 23rd).

"Such a plan confirms that al-Qaeda has not benefited from the harsh lesson it was given during Operation Golden Swords," the mission launched in June to purge the organisation from Abyan, an interior ministry official told the agency.

"The bitter taste of defeat [the organisation] experienced prevented it from remembering the courageous uprising of the people of Abyan, who fought side-by-side with armed forces and security forces against terrorism and dealt [al-Qaeda] a monumental defeat," he said.

According to the ministry, the organisation's latest plan is a "suicidal adventure" and the army and people's committees are on the lookout to prevent it.

Ahmed al-Rahwi, deputy governor of Abyan province, told Al-Shorfa that some of the local population fears that al-Qaeda could return.

"The [al-Qaeda-affiliated] Ahmed Abdul Nabi group is currently situated near Jaar," he said. "They are, however, small in number, and they may be attempting to show they still exist and are a force [to be reckoned with], although the truth is otherwise," he said.

Al-Rahwi said clusters of al-Qaeda fighters who survived previous battles fled to Abyan districts such as Ahwar, al-Mahfad and al-Wadih, which are geographically connected to Marib province through Shabwa province.

"These [elements] may pose a threat," he said.

Recent successes

Security forces on Thursday (October 18th) killed as many as nine al-Qaeda elements in al-Jabalain near Jaar, including wanted al-Qaeda leader Nader Haidar Nasser al-Shaddadi, the Yemeni Defence Ministry announced on its website 26sep.net.

Some Ansar al-Sharia leaders who are Jaar natives may play an influential role among its population, al-Rahwi said.

"Nader al-Shaddadi, who was killed along with eight others in [the October 18th military operation], was such an influential Ansar al-Sharia leader," he said.

Al-Rahwi called for more security forces to be sent to Jaar.

"It is not sufficient to keep only the army stationed there," he said. "People do not feel safe enough and many well-to-do citizens who returned [to Jaar] from Aden after the battle ended have once more taken refuge in [Aden], though the cost of living there is higher."

Latest plot

Nasser Mansari, secretary-general of the local council in Khanfar directorate, whose capital is Jaar, spoke about the recent al-Qaeda plot to recapture Jaar.

"Last week, eight al-Qaeda units in the Afayni area near Jaar were spotted heading towards the al-Jabalain area," he said. "Army units and members of the people's committees pursued them but could not find them."

Remnants of Ansar al-Sharia still have a presence in the vast areas that exist in the direction of al-Hurour on the border between Abyan and Lahij provinces, he said.

"The local population is fearful, and the absence of security units to detain the outlaws makes it easier for al-Qaeda to return," though the army's 119th Infantry Brigade and local people's committees are ready to enforce security and prevent al-Qaeda from regaining control, Mansari said.

Al-Qaeda is attempting to gain the sympathy of the population and has "distributed leaflets in Lawdar directorate pleading with the population to stand by it in the name of religion", he said.

'I will not leave my city and my home'

Abdul Salam Mohammed, a member of the people's committees in Jaar, said the committees will block any attempt by Ansar al-Sharia to regain control of the city.

"The people's committees are assisting in armed forces operations against al-Qaeda and are ready to block any attempt by the organisation in Jaar," he told Al-Shorfa, saying the committees' role is "to help maintain security and monitor all suspicious movements by outlaw elements".

Salem Hassan, 40, father to four children and owner of a private business in Jaar, told Al-Shorfa he suffered heavy losses after he fled to Aden last year when al-Qaeda seized control of Jaar.

"I will not repeat the mistake I made last year and will not leave my city and my home. I will fight for my property, children and city," he said, commending the people's committees for "encouraging many Jaar residents to stay in their homes, especially those who were displaced and tasted the bitter experience of living in camps for the displaced".

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  • READER COMMENTS

    عبد السلام السعدي

    2012-11-20

    The solution!

  • يوسف مسعود

    2012-11-14

    Destroying al-Qaeda in Yemen is very important and this should be one of the most important issues on the table of discussion in Yemen because this would protect it from foreign interference. One of the problems that resulted from these raids on the part of al-Qaeda, was the lack of the economic instability, which affected the interests of the homeland and the citizens, in addition to slowing down the political process.

  • جمعة يوسف

    2012-11-14

    As we all know, Al-Qaeda works on corrupting Yemen in all aspects. However, they also work on killing the security men in order to take control over Yemen. Also, they work on increasing the rate of poverty and hunger which our brothers in Yemen are suffering from. The Yemeni citizen wants to live in safety away from the problems that these terrorist cells may face. The citizen should cooperate with security to get these cells away from their homeland for the sake of a secured homeland and to restore the economy of Yemen to its nature especially after the large problems that they face because of the terrorist acts.

  • خليل ابراهيم

    2012-11-11

    Al Qaeda in Yemen is one of the most misfortunes that surround Yemen and Yemenis and worry their lives and ruin the country without any mercy or morality. Since when did terrorism have morals? aUndoubtedly it has an impact on the economy, security and tourism in Yemen and even education and health. They destroy everything related to the renaissance.

  • بسيم الجلمادي

    2012-11-10

    May God support the Yemeni forces!

  • عبداللطيف عبدالله

    2012-11-7

    Yemen finally realized the importance of eliminating the terrorism existing on its territory and the Yemeni government launched intensive attack including attacking the strongholds of al-Qaeda and many of its elements to eliminate the terrorism in Yemen after the Yemeni revolution for Yemen to start moving toward the economic progress coveted by the Yemenis as they wish to live a stable political life in the country.

  • احمد جاسم

    2012-11-1

    We all know that it is important to get rid of Al-Qaeda in Yemen because all people have become aware of the terrorist danger to society. In fact, all people must know that getting rid of terrorism and disorder will certainly achieve economic, political and scientific progress. That’s why we must work on eradicating terrorism immediately.

  • محمد راشد

    2012-11-1

    Getting rid of the terrorist organizations that have been spread out in the State of Yemen will create a good atmosphere of economic prosperity and recovery. This will also have a positive impact on the democratic succession. Besides, this will create a suitable system that will achieve the objectives of the State and people who want to live under a good regime that can secure their rights and duties.

  • محمد يوسف

    2012-11-1

    The eradication of terrorism will have a positive impact on Yemen and on its economic state. In fact, this will bring more investments in all the state fields such as agriculture, industry and tourism and this will eventually serve the country and its people. Besides, this will be another good factor in trying to build a suitable political system.

  • علي يوسف

    2012-11-1

    The eradication of terrorist organizations in Yemen will help provide a greater opportunity for the nation to develop, progress, reconstruct its institutions and pillars and draw its future more quickly. Therefore, we have to make further efforts and unite to face and eradicate terrorist hideouts once and for all.

  • أحمد مهدي

    2012-11-1

    The terrorists have considered themselves the defenders of religion who use the name of Islam to implement their plans which are far from Islam. They are more dangerous to Islam than its enemies who profess this enmity because with their actions and deviant ideas, they distort the pure image of Islam that forbids killing, destruction, sabotage and the terror that they spread among the people. Therefore, we should face these deviated ideas in order for them not to spread in our communities and in order for the people not to follow them while thinking that they will bring victory for Islam and defend it. These ideas should disappear from our communities if we want these communities to develop and still preserve their correct Islamic identity.

  • عيسى فضل علي

    2012-10-31

    The terrorist actors in Yemen fall into two main categories. The first ones have Yemeni origins. They embraced the ideas of terrorism. The preachers of the extremist deviant thought managed to mobilize them through deceit. In fact, it was easy to convince some Yemenis to join terrorist groups due to the dire living conditions. Those people lost their hope in the future of Yemen. On the other hand, there are some foreign terrorists. Thus, it is inevitable for the Yemeni authorities to eradicate those irrational, extremist and inhuman ideas coming from foreign countries. In so doing, the Yemeni authorities will protect the citizens and put an end to the proliferation of this deviant extremist thought. They would save the State of Yemen altogether.

  • سميررجب

    2012-10-29

    Peace be on you! I ask for the right of God and the law! Is this a reasonable behavior? No, so why would they do that? Thanks!