Al-Qaeda loses military camp to Yemeni forces

Al-Qaeda loses military camp to Yemeni forces
Yemen's al-Qaeda franchise has lost control of a military camp, in the latest defeat to hit the militants.
2 min read
30 April, 2016
The victory is the latest in an offensive against the militants [Getty]

Pro-government forces seized control of an al-Qaeda training camp in the southeastern province of Hadramawt on Saturday along with "large amounts" of weapons, the local governor confirmed.

The victory comes amid a wide-scale offensive launched by the Arab coalition-backed Yemeni government who vowed to drive out militants from the southern provinces.

"The offensive is continuing in Qoton to hunt down al-Qaeda militants," said Hadramawt governor Major General Ahmed bin Braik, referring to a town north of Mukalla.

Braik said government forces overran an al-Qaeda training camp in the town where they "confiscated large amounts of weapons" and "arrested eight al-Qaeda militants".

On Sunday, pro-government forces recaptured the al-Qaeda-stronghold Mukalla which had been occupied by the militants for a year.

At least 27 Yemeni soldiers died in the fight to retake Mukalla, military officials and medics said, while initial Arab coalition statements claimed an astounding 800 militants were killed.

But the militant group denied the bloodshed stating they had withdrawn to avoid spilling blood in the city, adding the number of those killed does not "exceed the number of fingers on both hands".

"We will fight the battle by our own rules and ways and not by those of the enemy," said the statement, adding that the UAE had played the biggest role in the fight for Mukalla.

Yemeni military sources said Emirati military vehicles were used in the operation and that troops from the UAE, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition, were among the forces that entered Mukalla.

The Arab coalition battling rebels in Yemen since March 2015 carried out airstrikes against positions held by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula in Mukalla to pave the way for ground troops, military sources said.

Troops also recaptured Mina al-Dhaba oil terminal in Shehr further east, the sources said.

Yemen-based al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is regarded by Washington as the network's most dangerous branch, and has carried out deadly attacks on the West in the past.