By Jim Kouri
At least 12 Somali nationals suspected of belonging to the al-Shabaab terrorist group were apprehended by Yemeni police commandos and their US police advisors, a police officer who worked in Yemen as an advisor told the Law Enforcement Examiner on Tuesday.
Police officers posted on the main road between Abyan and Aden provinces detained the 12 armed men from the al-Qaeda-allied Somali group while they were attempting to sneak into the port city of Aden to conduct terrorist attacks, the police officer said on condition of anonymity.
“The arrested terrorists were taken into the custody of military intelligence officers who transported them to Aden province for an initial investigation,” the officer said.
The Somali group known as al-Shabaab has provided weapons, fighters and training with explosives over the last few months to the Yemen-based al-Qaeda branch that has been battling with the Yemeni police and army forces in Abyan since May 2011, according to Yemeni officials.
The country’s interior ministry reported earlier this month that al-Shabaab had sent 300 armed men to fight alongside the Yemen-based al-Qaeda wing known locally as Partisans of Sharia ( Islamic law) in Abyan province. The group is also known as al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Al-Qaeda militants, who took advantage of the conflicts in the country, have seized several towns in Abyan and Shabwa provinces after severe fighting with government troops backed by U.S. drones, according to the Law Enforcement Examiner’s police source.
In January 2009, al-Qaeda affiliates in Saudi Arabia and Yemen officially merged and formed Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as reported in the Examiner.
The group, mainly entrenching itself in Yemen’s southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, is on the terrorist list of the United States, which considers it as an increasing threat to its national security.