Following clashes on November 21st opposing the government forces and al-Qaeda militants which led to the death of 9 Islamists, the terror group decided to take revenge by placing a roadside bomb.
The Defense Ministry revealed on its website on Monday that 2 tribesmen were killed in the explosion and that 2 others were wounded.
The attack on local tribesmen in Modia, a town located in the southern province of Abyan, prompted an immediate outcry from the population and the formation of a popular committee to decide what to do next against the growing al-Qaeda threat. The committee stated that the tribe had the duty to fight off the militants and take revenge on their people's death.
A group of armed tribal fighters besieged Adbulillah al-Thahiri, "the Emir of Modia" as the entire region knows of his ties with the terror group. A violent battle ensued, leaving 6 of Thahiri's loyalists dead, 4 others wounded and Thahiri himself in custody of the tribe.
"Al-Thahiri was leading a sleeper cell in Modia and was in permanent hiding after the Modia directorate was cleared of [al-Qaeda] elements in a military campaign over a year ago," al-Tahati said. "The tribesmen rose up to protect themselves and their property from the ravages of al-Qaeda to prevent what happened in Jaar and Zinjibar from occurring."
Several security analysts amongst whom Doctor Saeed Obaid al-Jami from the Centre for Studies and Research said that in order to fight off the threat and expansion of terror groups within the region, popular support was not only essential but of prime importance.
He added that the organization of popular committee was extremely useful in supporting the government's actions against the terror cells.
"Government forces prefer to capture organization members so they can obtain information from their confessions and find out about al-Qaeda's future plans," he said.
Abyan deputy governor, Ahmed al-Rahwi, welcomed the arrest of Thahiri, saying "This indicates that the people sense their responsibilities after the devastation and destruction that took place in Zinjibar and Jaar. They fear that al-Qaeda could move to their directorate and repeat the scenario of establishing an Islamic emirate everywhere in Abyan province."
Al-Rawhi stressed that since Abyan posed such a strategic importance for al-Qaeda for it lies near Aden and Lahaj provinces to the west and Shabwa and Hadramaut to the east, the government and the people needed to work together in annihilating the threat.