Al-Qaida to withdraw militants from two southern Yemeni towns

Aden, May 6 (IANS) Militants of the Yemen-based al-Qaida offshoot agreed on Thursday to withdraw from two strategic southern Yemeni towns without armed confrontations after a tribal-led mediation, a government official told Xinhua.

“Commanders of the al-Qaida agreed to a full withdrawal from the key towns of Jaar and Zinjibar in Abyan province after successful mediation efforts by some powerful tribal leaders,” a Yemeni government official said.

Hundreds of Yemeni soldiers, newly trained by the Saudi-led coalition, were preparing to launch an anti-terror offensive to flush out al-Qaida militants from the two coastal towns.

“The al-Qaida militants began to pull out of Zinjibar peacefully and handed over three government compounds to the tribal mediators,” the government source said.

A local tribal chief said that “driving al-Qaida from Jaar and Zinjibar by military force will cause huge destruction to the infrastructure. The al-Qaida withdrawal was the only solution.”

“Terms of the tribal-led mediation allowed the al-Qaida militants to bring with them all the weapons and military vehicles out of Zinjibar and Jaar, ” the tribal source said.

–IANS

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