Yesterday’s massive battles in southern Yemen are over, but the killing continued when 15 soldiers, captured by the al-Qaeda–linked militants in yesterday’s battle, were publicly executed today in the Lahj Province.
The executions bring the overall deaths among Yemeni soldiers in the clash to 43, along with the 28 that were killed in yesterday’s fighting. Thirteen militants were also reported slain in the fighting.
The fighting was along the border between the Abyan Province, dominated almost entirely by the Ansar al-Sharia, and the Lahj Province, which they also have considerable influence in. The forces attacked a military checkpoint, calling it a “raid of dignity.”
It is the second major loss for Yemeni troops in the past month, with an early March clash in Abyan leaving some 185 soldiers slain in a surprisingly one-sided conflict over a military base. The US has backed Yemen’s military with air strikes, but it seems that when the fighting happens on the ground, the rebels are at a considerable advantage.
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