A gas pipeline jointly owned by the French Total company has been sabotaged before dawn Monday by gunmen from Al-Qaeda in the province of Shabwa in the southeast of Yemen, said a local official. The pipeline was damaged by an explosive device that caused a fire near the town of Maifaa, some 40 km from the Belhaf terminal on the Gulf of Aden, witnesses said.
"This is the answer of Al-Qaeda to the army raids," said a local official, referring to the Yemeni army offensive that seeks to regain control on the city of Zinjibar and the adjacent town of Jaar. This attack is helped by U.S. drone raids.
According to eyewitnesses, the sabotage act was preceded by exchanges of gunfire between guards of Yemen LNG company and Al Qaeda fighters.
It was not possible to know immediately if the sabotage had caused an interruption of the gas supplied to Belhaf terminal.
The same pipeline was sabotaged on April 26.
Sabotage had already occurred on March 30 and forced Yemen LNG to halt its supply for three weeks.
On Saturday , the Yemeni army besieged a town controlled by Al Qaeda in the province of Abyan, south of the country, making preparations for attacks on its positions.
Infantry brigades of the Yemeni armed forces have imposed a strict siege around the entrances to the town of Jaar, seeking to force the al Qaeda men to leave the province of Abyan.