News24

Yemen clashes leave 13 dead

2011-12-10 19:32

Aden - Weekend clashes in southern Yemen left two government soldiers and 11 suspected members of al-Qaeda dead, military and local sources told AFP on Saturday.

Government troops have for months been battling al-Qaeda linked fighters in the troubled Abyan province, notably in the areas surrounding the provincial capital Zinjibar, where the latest clashes took place.

"Two soldiers were killed and forty others injured in battles that broke out when al-Qaeda fighters attacked the positions of Battalion 201", based in the northeast of Zinjibar, a military source told AFP.

A local source told AFP that "11 al-Qaeda fighters, including one Iraqi, perished in the battles."

The clashes, which first broke out on Friday, continued on Saturday afternoon, both sources said.

In a separate incident, a suspected member of al-Qaeda, who was abducted by tribal fighters battling Islamists in the area, was killed by his guards on Saturday morning, as he tried to escape detention in the Abyan village of Loder, a tribal source told AFP.

Yemeni government forces backed by tribal fighters and sometimes supported by US drone strikes have been battling the Partisans of Sharia, an al-Qaeda linked group, that has controlled Zinjibar since May.

Al-Qaeda has profited from the instability caused by 11 months of protests against Yemen's President Ali Abdullah Saleh, strengthening its positions across the south of the country.