Sana'a, August 20, 2011- Acting Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi warned Friday that al-Qaida wing is gearing up to establish a Talibani-style state in the country's southern province of Abyan, official Saba news agency reported.
"The resurgent al-Qaida group collected its elements and leaders from Yemen's provinces and some Arab and Islamic countries and deployed them to Abyan, taking advantage of the country's ongoing political crisis in order to set up an Islamic state there, " Hadi said in a phone conversation with Robin Searby, the counter- terrorism advisor to the British prime minister's office.
The warning came two days after the al-Qaida militants regained control of the country's strategic coastal city of Shaqra in Abyan after days of fierce battles against government troops.
Shaqra is the third town seized by al-Qaida in Abyan, some 480 km south of the capital Sanaa, after the terrorist group took control of Abyan's capital city of Zinjibar and nearby Jaar town late in May.
Local officials told Xinhua that "the terrorist group is planning to take more cities in Abyan and its southeastern neighboring province of Shabwa despite the fierce crackdown by the Yemeni army forces and continuing U.S. air strikes."
Saba said Searby expressed his hope for a quick and peaceful end to the Yemeni political crisis that has rattled Yemen for months.
"Searby stressed that British Prime Minister David Cameron and his government support the security, stability and unity of Yemen as the Arab state is strategically important at the regional and global levels," Saba added.