Militant violence and U.S. drone strikes continue in Yemen

Posted Aug 5, 2012 by Ken Hanly
Violence continues in Yemen. A U.S. drone strike allegedly killed five Al Qaeda members in eastern Yemen on Saturday. In the city of Jaar a suicide bomber killed at least 45 people in an attack on a funeral of a pro-government tribesman.
A group from an anti-terrorist unit on a raid north of Sanaa
A group from an anti-terrorist unit on a raid north of Sanaa
Amar Abd Rabbo
According to the Yemeni Defense Ministry a suicide bomber struck during a wake on Saturday night in the city of Jaar. The city used to be a stronghold of Ansar al-Sharia who held it until a recent government offensive that retook the city in June. Although the militants have retreated into the mountains they continue terrorist activities such as this.
As is common when these event happen different sources give different casualty figures. NBC news gives a casualty figure of 25 killed. Both sources agree that the bomber was targeting a group of tribal fighters who had supported the Yemeni armed forces against Ansar al-Sharia. Most of Abyan province had been taken over by Ansar al-Sharia until the offensive. The Abyan governor said."This is a cowardly, criminal, terrorist attack,"
The attack shows that the threat of Islamic militancy in Yemen is far from over. The attack killed Abdul Al Sayed who led the "Popular Committees" formed to fight militants. Two of his brothers were also killed. While the Yemen government with U.S. help has reclaimed control of Abyan province residents claim that the militants are simply laying low and regrouping. At the time of the offensive the militants said that they had made a tactical retreat to fight a guerrilla war.
Saba the Yemeni state news agency said."A number of individuals from these gangs took refuge in the mountains next to the north of Jaar after the big defeat they were dealt by the army and Popular Committees... Today they resume their cowardly suicide operations".
The militants have also assassinated a top southern military commander and killed four policemen just last week. The U.S. is continuing drone attacks against suspected militants.
According to an anonymous official a U.S. drone attack killed five Al Qaeda members traveling in one vehicle in eastern Yemen. The official said:"A drone fired two missiles at an all-terrain vehicle... killing its five occupants, all members of al Qaeda."
The attack was in Al-Qotn a village in Hadramut province. According to witnesses the area of the attack was sealed off. This keeps any independent observers from seeing what actually happened.
The Yemeni government still faces separatist movements in both the north and south of the country and Islamic militants as well as continuing internal divisions. The original youthful protesters for democracy seem to be more or less out of the picture for now. The long conflict in the country has also produced a humanitarian disaster with many displaced and hungry people.