Al Qaeda-linked militants have surrounded a military base in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate. A commander of the 25th Mechanised Brigade, based outside of the capital city, reported 50 soldiers were missing after clashes with the militants, who call themselves “Ansar al Sharia,” or Supporters of Islamic Law, and accused the Yemeni defense ministry of abandoning his troops.
Yemeni airstrikes target suspected militant positions in Abyan governorate. Medics reported that six militants were killed in Jaar. Earlier airstrikes killed two civilians in Jaar. The home of the deputy parliament speaker, who had defected to the opposition, was hit in Zinjibar and three civilians were killed.
Aden is at risk of falling under al Qaeda-linked militants’ control. Aden officials reported a new militant training camp and attempts by the militants to store arms in rented apartments. Yemeni government officials report the establishment of youth militias to fight militants in Aden. The defense ministry announced it would deploy forces to protect the port city.
Taiz remains outside of government control as new clashes break out. The deployment of Republican Guard forces to positions north of the city sparked new clashes. At least four Republican Guard soldiers were killed. Local authorities are attempting to re-establish a ceasefire.
A Shiite political leader was briefly arrested in Sana’a and accused of being a political agent of Iran. Hassan Zaid, the secretary general of the al Haq party, was arrested en route to Saudi Arabia and then released. Recent reports indicate that Iran has increased its activities in Yemen over the past few months.
Renewed political negotiations have not resolved the impasse in Sana’a. Defected General Ali Mohsen al Ahmar rejected a new transition deal that would permit President Ali Abdullah Saleh to hold onto power until a new president is found. He called for the vice president to oversee elections for a new government. A Yemeni cabinet official reported that Saleh would not resign until he oversaw a transition process.
The Yemeni state is undergoing fragmentation and a resolution to the political crisis in the capital will not result in a unified state. The current situation has increased al Qaeda's operating space in Yemen.
Please sign up for the Quick Take to receive these updates by email.