AQAP takes control of another town in southern Yemen

According to Xinhua, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has seized yet another town in southern Yemen, this time in Shabwa province, and is advancing on the port of Balhaf, home to a key Liquefied Natural Gas facility:

Al Qaeda militants Tuesday seized Rowda town in Yemen’s southeast province of Shabwa, a few miles away from the location of TOTAL-led Yemeni Liquefied Natural Gas ( LNG) Company, a provincial security official told Xinhua.

“The militants of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) took over Rowda town following fierce battles with government forces backed by the Yemeni air force,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“They (militants) are now advancing to the port city of Balhaf, to besiege the government troops guarding the LNG headquarters of the French oil giant TOTAL,” said the official.

AQAP now controls several major cities and numerous town in southern Yemen. AQAP seized control of Zinjibar in late May and has held it despite the Yemeni Army’s attempts to retake the city. The city of Azzan fell to AQAP in early June. And in mid-August, AQAP captured the port city of Sharqa.

For more information on AQAP and its political front group, Ansar al Sharia, see LWJ report, US ‘drones’ kill 15 al Qaeda fighters in southern Yemen.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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