Monday, June 18, 2012
Top commander in South Yemen assassinated by suicide bomber
On his way to work on Monday (July 18) Maj. Gen. Sali Ali Qatn was killed when a suicide bomber detonated himself in front of his vehicle. As well as the general his driver and a passenger were also killed.
Both Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) and Ansar al-Sharia another militant group are active in southern Yemen and until a recent offensive by the Yemen military with the guidance of U.S special forces had occupied and run several cities.
While there have been reports of clashes and territory has certainly been retaken details of the campaign remain unclear. In some cases locals report that militants just left without a fight. There are reports too that in some areas locals were recruited to help oust the radicals.
General Qatn was one of new president Hadi's first key military appointments. Qatn led the offensive against militants to regain territory. However, there were heavy casualties in some clashes including a raid on a military post east of Aden that killed about 100 soldiers. The central government still has a tenuous hold over the south of the country which at one time was independent. In Aden there are areas where soldiers or police dare not enter for fear of being attacked. In the area where the general was killed there are reports of the black flag of Al Qaeda being flown. For more see this article.