March 19, 2012
ADEN (Reuters) – Gunmen crept into an army barracks in southern Yemen early on Monday before killing three sleeping soldiers and wounding two, a security official said.
“The gunmen snuck into the area and killed the soldiers as they were asleep early this morning,” the official told Reuters. He blamed al Qaeda for the attack on the barracks in Dalea province, north of the port city of Aden.
The Interior Ministry announced separately that the army had detained six Somali nationals who it said were members of al Qaeda at a security checkpoint in Abyan province, also in southern Yemen.
The men were taken to nearby Aden province for investigation, the ministry said, without giving details.
The United States and Yemen’s oil-rich neighbour Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest crude exporter, are concerned about al Qaeda’s expansion in Yemen, where it has regrouped after suffering reverses in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
Al Qaeda violence has intensified since President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took office in February vowing to fight the Islamist network, which exploited months of protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize swathes of territory.
Gunmen linked to al Qaeda shot dead an American teacher in Yemen on Sunday, accusing him of Christian “proselytising.”
Government troops clash almost daily with militants in areas they control in the south, and at times with armed supporters of a southern separatist movement which has also stepped up its activities in the past year.