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Two fighters affiliated with Yemen’s separatist Southern Transitional Council killed in suspected Al-Qaeda blast

An attack in southern Yemen on Saturday killed at least two fighters loyal to the secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC), with five others injured.

According to Yemeni media an improvised explosive device targeted military vehicles belonging to the STC’s 3rd Support and Reinforcement Brigades, at Mudia in Abyan province.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast so far. However, the incident comes just days after another attack on STC-aligned forces occurred in Wadi Omran, also in the Abyan province.

According to reports, the attackers used mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, killing five fighters, before fleeing to a mountainous area between Abyan and neighbouring Bayda province, where they were pursued.

Though once again no group claimed responsibility, the attack was widely believed to have been carried out by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who are also thought to be responsible for the Mudia attack.

The STC and AQAP have been involved in violent clashes for the past year. AQAP’s operations have grown in frequency in the south in the past year and it has launched several attacks against STC-aligned forces since August 2022.

The STC opposes the rule of Yemen’s internationally recognised government, which was forced to flee to the south of the country after Houthi rebels seized most of northern Yemen.

It is backed by the UAE and analysts say the group is being used as a pawn for the UAE’s own foreign policy agenda.

AQAP has used Yemen’s multi-faceted war conflict to cement its foothold in Yemen.

 

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