Last updated: 21 August, 2011

11 tribesmen killed in south Yemen suicide attacks

Eleven Yemeni tribesmen were killed overnight in two suicide attacks in the southern province of Abyan, a stronghold of Al-Qaeda, tribal sources and medics told AFP on Sunday.

Tribal sources accused Al-Qaeda members of carrying out the attacks in two villages of Abyan province, where Yemeni tribesmen and the army have been battling militants from the “Partisans of Sharia (Islamic law)” who are believed to be close to the Al-Qaeda network.

A suicide bomber killed Sheikh Abu Bahr Ashal, the chief of the Ashal tribe, and two others when he detonated an explosive belt he was wearing in Moudia, east of Zinjibar — the provincial capital mostly seized by militants in May.

Ashal and one of his companions were killed instantly while the third victim, a soldier, died of his wounds in hospital, a tribal source told AFP.

A medical source confirmed the deaths.

Meanwhile, eight people were killed and 20 others wounded when a suicide bomber rammed an explosive-laden car into a post of armed tribesmen in the area of Arkub, near the town of Shaqra, which was taken over by extremist militants last week, a tribal source said.

A medical source said that seven of the wounded sustained serious injuries and were taken to a hospital in the neighbouring province of Baida.

Yemeni tribesmen siding with government forces have in past weeks been locked in battle with suspected Al-Qaeda militants in Abyan, especially in Zinjibar.

The army has been battling the Partisans of Sharia militants, who have besieged its 25th Mechanised Brigade base in Zinjibar since May.

Apart from Shaqra and Zinjibar, Islamist gunmen control the village of Jaar.