Fifty-seven al-Qaeda militants surrender to Yemen authorities
Yemeni fighters loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi drive in convoy in the Yafa area some 180 kilometres north of the port city of Aden on August 9, 2016. (AFP/Nabil Hassan)
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At least 57 junior al-Qaeda operatives have surrendered to local authorities in Yemen’s Hadramout province after a two-week amnesty period was offered to the militants.
Major General Ahmad Bin Bourek, governor of Yemen’s Hadramout province, added that authorities have also nabbed a ring of assassins linked to al-Qaeda in Aden.
The 57 militants have been brought into police custody for interrogation.
“We call on the remaining militants to follow suit. We will interrogate them to find out who recruited them in the first place,” Bin Bourek told a gathering of government officials in the city of al-Mukalla, the capital of the Hadramout province.
Since liberating the city from al-Qaeda militants on April 24, local army troops — trained and armed by UAE military officers — have killed and captured hundreds of al-Qaeda militants, inflicting a fatal blow to the most dangerous branch of the organization in the world.
To encourage militants-in-hiding to surface, local security authorities issued a statement on July 29 that it would grant amnesty to al-Qaeda members and its sympathizers who surrender within two weeks.
Bin Bourek said the militants would have to sign a pledge in front of their relatives in local courts denouncing violence and promising to return to civilian life.
Meanwhile, in the port city of Aden, police announced that it had busted an eight-member-al-Qaeda-linked cell poised to carry out a string of assassinations against security and resistance figures in Aden.
During interrogation, the ring admitted to killing UAE officer Hadef Hamed al-Shamsi in October 2015, as well as Ahmad al-Edrissi, a senior figure in the Aden resistance, and colonel Hariz Al Halimi, a retired army officer.
The militants said they were paid between 20,000 to 60,000 Saudi riyals for the assassinations.
The rate depended on how high the rank of the designated target.
In another security achievement, Aden police said on Wednesday that Mazen Mohsen Abdullah, also known as Khalid Al Deba, a senior al-Qaeda operative was arrested in a raid by special forces in a house on the outskirts of Houta, the capital of Lahej.
Al-Deba is said to have masterminded a string of assassinations and deadly attacks against government and resistance figures and facilities.
Immediately after retaking the city from the Houthi rebels in July last year, the city of Aden, the temporary base of the government, witnessed a wave of killings carried by masked men on motorbikes.
The number of attacks dropped sharply in recent months after police and special forces raided al-Qaeda hideouts in Aden and the neighbouring Lahej province.