Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Senior Army Officer, 8 Soldiers Held Hostage by Al-Qaida in Yemen

2011-10-19 Xinhua

A total of eight soldiers along with a high-ranking officer of Yemen's armed forces were held hostage by al-Qaida militants in the southern province of Abyan on Wednesday, a military official said.

The eight soldiers of the 201st Armored Army Brigade along with their commander were held hostage in the al-Kud area west of Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, a local military official who asked not to be named told Xinhua.

The al-Qaida militants ambushed the soldiers' vehicle while they were on their way to shift guard in the al-Kud area where fierce clashes are still going on between the militants and the armed forces, he said.

"The abducted soldiers were taken to unknown destination and till now we have no contact with them," he added.

Abyan, some 480 km south of Yemen's capital Sanaa, has been the scene of daily fighting since hundreds of militants from the al- Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) seized Zinjibar and at least three other towns in May.

Yemeni military forces regained control of Zinjibar last month, but heavy clashes are still rocking the region.

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