Photo: Khoura area in Lower Markha district, Shabwa Governorate (Google Maps - South24 Center projection)

AQAP kidnaps 5 people in Shabwa


Thu, 29-02-2024 05:35 PM, Aden

Shabwa (South24) 

Security sources informed South24 Center that individuals likely belonging to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) have kidnapped five people in Shabwa Governorate, including four civilians and one soldier, over the last week.

According to the sources, AQAP members today intercepted a civilian vehicle on the road in the Khoura area of the Lower Markha district, kidnapping three civilians who were on board.

This follows a kidnapping operation last Friday, February 23, that targeted two people including a Public Security soldier, on Wadi Khoura Road in Lower Markha, in western Shabwah. 

According to the sources, the two individuals belong to a prominent tribe in Shabwa of which the current governor, Awad Al-Awlaki, also belongs. 

Tribal sources reported to South24 Center that local mediation between the two men’s tribes and AQAP contributed to the release of the civilian, while the soldier is still currently being held captive by members of the extremist organization. 

The sources did not specify the nature of the mediation, or when the kidnapping victim was released. AQAP has yet to announce the operations on its media platforms.

In more recent developments in Shabwa, a South24 correspondent reported today that Aqeel Bahmid, the STC Vice President and a tribal sheikh, survived an explosive device attack while traveling to the governorate’s capital, Ataq. The details of the incident are not yet fully known. 

AQAP is actively operating in Shabwa’s Khoura area, which is located on the border with the Houthi-controlled Al-Bayda Governorate. Throughout recent years, Al-Bayda has served as the unofficial capital of AQAP.

The Iran-backed Houthis claim to have clashed with AQAP since taking control of Al-Bayda, yet the pro-STC Southern forces accuse them of sheltering AQAP members and using them against Southern forces in Abyan and Shabwa.

For nearly two years, the Southern forces have been carrying out continuous security and military campaigns in an attempt to eradicate AQAP in the two governorates. The Southern forces have succeeded in their efforts to a great extent, but have repeatedly suffered heavy losses due to a lack of external support. 

Related: The Southern Forces Control New Strongholds for AQAP in Abyan 

South24 Center

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