AQAP kills 7 more Yemeni troops in south

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula fighters killed and mutilated seven more Yemeni soldiers in the south, this time in the western province of Hadramout. From The Associated Press:

The militants sprayed the sleeping soldiers with bullets leaving their bodies severely disfigured, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to reporters.

The attack on the area of Shibam in the southeastern Hadramout province was the latest in a series of deadly setbacks suffered by army garrison posts in the south that highlight the vulnerability of a Yemeni military demoralized and split in its loyalties by a year of upheaval.

Today’s attack takes place just one day after AQAP fighters overran a checkpoint in the town of Al Milah in Lahj province, killing 17 Yemeni soldiers before withdrawing with two captured tanks and other heavy weapons. And on March 4, a large AQAP force attacked and overran a Yemeni Army base in Al Koud in Abyan that housed a mechanized battalion. The AQAP fighters decimated the battalion, killing 185 soldiers, wounding 150, and capturing at least 73 more. AQAP also seized heavy weapons, including tanks, during the assault. AQAP is still holding the 73 Yemeni soldiers.

AQAP has been openly battling the Yemeni military for nearly a year, and has held its ground in Zinjibar despite the efforts of a division of Yemeni troops. The US has aided the Yemeni military with drone and conventional airstrikes, but with little effect. AQAP has expanded its control in the south; just last week, the coastal town of Radum in Shabwa province was the latest population center to fall to AQAP.

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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