Monday, March 5, 2012
Yemen: Government troops suffer heavy casualties in clashes with militants
Abyan province was taken over by militants often linked with Al Qaeda some time ago. It seems that the government has not regained control as yet. Yemeni officials claim at least 85 government soldiers and 25 militants have begun since fighting began yesterday.
AP news reported a total on both sides of 106 people killed and 55 soldiers taken prisoner.. Militants mounted surprise attacks on army posts on the edge of the capital of Abyan Zinjibar. Some described the attacks as a massacre.
In Aden an official at a military hospital said that at least 103 soldiers have been killed. He claimed that many soldiers died as a result of wounds received in the attacks in Zinjibar. Al Qaeda linked fighters took control of Zinjibar back in May 2011.
Since President Hadi was sworn in on Feb. 25th there have been a series of militant attack. As Hadi vowed to keep up former president Saleh's attack against Al Qaeda a suicide bomber killed 26 soldiers outside a palace in the province of Hadramaut.
No doubt the U.S. will provide Hadi with support both from the air and on the ground with special forces. However, the militants seem to be taking the initiative and launching pre-emptive strikes themselves. For more see this article.
Not just militants are opposed to the new government. Many protesters wanted former president Saleh, his relatives and cronies to be held responsible for their acts. The GCC deal supported by the U.S. granted them immunity. Separatists both in the north and south also oppose the new government. The situation is far from stable in Yemen. Saleh's cronies and relatives remain as key figures in the government.