Militants believed to be from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) assassinated the deputy governor of Baydha province in central Yemen today. The head of provincial security for Baydha, Adel al Asbahi, said that gunmen opened fire on the deputy governor of the province, Hussein Dayyan, as he stepped outside his home in al Baydha City, the provincial capital.
A local Yemeni security official who refused to be identified claimed that the attackers were masked, and accused al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula of carrying out the attack. He said that the assassination “had all the hallmarks of al Qaeda,” according to Al Arabiya. The militants, who were driving a car at the time of the attack, managed to escape.
Only hours after Hussein Dayyan’s assassination, militants also thought to be from AQAP assassinated Nasser al Rimah, a high-ranking Yemeni intelligence officer, in a popular marketplace in Baydha’s Dhahar district.
Sources in the Yemeni security services have previously stated that Shabwa, Hadramout, Abyan, and Baydha provinces have been battlegrounds for an open war between al Qaeda and Yemeni security personnel that has lasted for over two years and caused the deaths of hundreds. AQAP has routinely targeted Yemeni political, military, and intelligence officials, especially since Yemeni state forces recaptured territory that AQAP held between 2011-2012. Baydha province has particularly become an AQAP stronghold ever since increasing numbers of militants migrated there following their expulsion from neighboring Abyan province as a result of the Yemeni military counteroffensive in 2012.