Media reports said on Thursday citing the former Abyan governor Ahmed al-Maisari that the high-ranking leading figure in the pro-secessionist Southern Movement, Mohammed Ali Ahmed, urged his followers to fight al-Qaeda elements alongside the army troops in Abyan.Ahmed told the London-based Sharaq al-Awsat newspaper that he called on his tribe affiliates in Abyan to fight al-Qaeda elements which have been battling army troops assisted by tribal militias for months.The southern leader came back home after more than 15 years of living in exile. His return to Yemen which coincided with new Yemeni President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi rise to office, sparked controversy and speculation as many people believed that he came back to support Hadi. Hadi and Ahmed are from the same area.Al-Maisari denied that there are American troops on the ground fighting alongside the Yemeni army, arguing the existence of US troops would not be of help whatsoever to the army, rather it would have a negative effect, al-Masdar online newspaper reported.He stressed that things have turned around for the army troops' favor after the air force was involved heavily in the battles. He put the number of the aircraft's' airstrikes at about 50 per day."The clashes stopped in Zinjubar—the provincial capital of Abyan—which means that al-Qaeda influence in the town have collapsed. The past few days witnessed considerable evacuation process by the militants towards other areas," he said."The government intends to repeat the tribal militias in Lawdar and other places where al-Qaeda operatives still powerful." Ahmed added.