Yemeni Officials Say Southern Town Recaptured From al-Qaida

(dpa/TNS) -
Yemeni army armored personnel carriers are seen outside the southern Yemen city of Zinjibar before army forces took it over from militants on Sunday. (Reuters/Stringer)
Yemeni army armored personnel carriers are seen outside the southern Yemen city of Zinjibar before army forces took it over from militants on Sunday. (Reuters/Stringer)

Forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government have recaptured a southern provincial capital from al-Qaida terrorists, military officials said Sunday.

Troops loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and local militiamen took the town of Zinjibar, east of Hadi’s temporary capital Aden, after minor clashes, the Yemeni officials said on the condition of anonymity.

Yemeni army soldiers walk past a damaged armored personnel carrier in Zinjibar after army forces took it over from militants on Sunday. (Reuters/Stringer)
Yemeni army soldiers walk past a damaged armored personnel carrier in Zinjibar after army forces took it over from militants on Sunday. (Reuters/Stringer)

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula had returned to Zinjibar and the nearby town of Jaar in June, a month after withdrawing under an agreement mediated by local tribal leaders.

The terrorist organization has expanded its influence in southern Yemen, taking advantage of a civil war that pits the mainly Shiite rebels, who control most of the north of the country, against Hadi’s government and a range of other rivals.

The military officials said that aircraft from a Saudi-led alliance backing Hadi supported the move on Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province.

Hadi telephoned the governor of Abyan and the regional army commander to congratulate them on the “return of security and stability to Abyan province,” the official government news agency reported.

Yemen’s conflict has intensified in recent weeks, with the United Nations putting peace talks in Kuwait City on hold after the Houthis declined to sign peace proposals agreed to by the government.