Yemen Troops Could Lose Control of Key Southern City

Says Interior Ministry Didn't Keep Promises of Support

by Jason Ditz, August 06, 2012

The city council leader from Yemen’s Abyan Provincial capital city Zinjibar, a city which was under the control of the Ansar al-Sharia for over a year before Yemeni troops eventually reconquered it, is warning that Yemen’s control might not last.

“Security is still week. The ministry didn’t provide anything. The Minister of Interior did not keep his promises nor his obligations,” noted council head Kasim Muhammed Hadi, saying that the situation is deteriorating and al-Qaeda could easily retake the city.

According to Hadi, the entire provincial security force right now is 30 men and only half of them actually have guns. He said he believes the militants have left primarily to avoid US drone strikes, not to avoid fighting the security forces.

The Abyan Province isn’t of much value itself, but its proximity to Aden makes it strategically important, and Ansar al-Sharia’s year of holding Zinjibar adds symbolic value to the city.

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