Cinque presunti affiliati ad Al-Qaeda nella Penisola Arabica (AQAP) sono stati uccisi, e altri quattro feriti, in un raid aereo yemenita nel quartiere di Al-Mahfad, nel governatorato di Abyan, secondo fonti militari nella zona.
A soldier in the Abyan-based Brigade 111, Shakir Al-Ghadeer, said the Air Force targeted two Hilux model cars. Al-Ghadeer says his battalion examined the destroyed vehicles following the attack.
Al-Ghadeer said the wounded were taken to nearby Shabwa governorate for treatment.
However, the Interior Ministry is denying any reports of an aerial raid. It reported on its website on Sunday that three AQAP affiliates were injured in the area after tribal gunmen shot at their car. No further information was provided.
“The…ministry said that [only] three gunmen were wounded, but this number is not accurate,” said Al-Ghadeer.
Al-Ghadeer alleges that security officials in the area inaccurately reported the casualties to the Interior Ministry. He says one official said security is so “lacking in the governorate,” that it is “every man for himself.”
A local resident in Abyan, Abdulla Dokhn, said “planes constantly hover over Al-Mahfad and other areas of the Ahwar district.”
“We see Al-Qaeda gunmen, official security personnel, and members of the Popular Committees [local residents who work alongside the army] mixing in the streets at the same time. This shows how strong Al-Qaeda is [because they are not afraid to openly walk the streets], and this frightens us,” Dokhn said.
In addition to attacks from the Yemeni Air Force, Abyan is also targeted by controversial American drones in the U.S.’s efforts to combat militant groups like AQAP in the area.
The latest drone strike took place on Monday in the Rada’a district of Al-Beida’a governorate, near Abyan. Two were injured in the two-missile attack that hit a car travelling to the Qaifa area, said to Hamood Al-Amari, the security manager in Rada’a.
He said it is believed there were civilians in the car.
“This drone strike happened near the place where another drone strike hit a wedding procession three weeks ago,” he said, referring to the Dec. 11 incident in which 12 civilians were killed after a missile struck cars outside a village in Rada’a.
The Qaifa area is the home of the Al-Dhahab family, whom the government accuses of having ties to AQAP.
In a previous statement to the Yemen Times regarding the conflicting statistics provided by officials and eyewitnesses following drone strikes, Saeed Al-Jamhi, the head of the Al-Jamhi Center for Study and Research and an expert on terrorism, said, “The inconsistent statistics prove that the state is not really present in these areas and lacks accurate information about the real numbers of victims. We are used to such things…. The state doesn’t usually provide accurate information about air strikes because it does not have sufficient and real-time information. It relies on security chiefs in these areas [and doesn’t always pursue the] facts.”
Source Yemen Times