About 70% of the inhabitants of Jaar town have returned to their homes after the army drove Al-Qaida militants out of the town and other strongholds in the southern Abyan province, deputy governor of Abyan province, Ahmed Al-Rahawi, said on Saturday.
The 26 Sept website quoted the official as saying the return started immediately after the authorities restored all basic services in the town and its suburbs coinciding with securing all roads leading to Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan.
Al-Qaida seized Zinjibar and the strategic town of Jaar and declared them Islamic emirates in mid-2011, but the armed forces with direct support from the US and tribal fighters cleared the militants from all parts in Abyan.
Hundreds of militants including senior leaders were killed in the offensive, which has been continued in nearby provinces, mainly Shabwa, to have a militancy-free Yemen.
Al-Rahawi said other citizens have been unable to return to their homes because of landmines, which were planted by militants inside homes, farms and deserted areas, according to the website.
On Friday, Abyan governor, Jamal Al-Aqil, said technical teams from GCC countries have arrived in Yemen to help remove all landmines in Abyan. "The GCC help comes because removing the mines and helping the people return are top priorities," he said.
Tens of people have been killed in landmine explosions in the past few weeks, just as they started to return to and check their properties, triggering calls on the displaced not to rush back for now.
Al-Rahawi said the inhabitants of Zinjibar have been warned not to return until the authorities remove thousands of landmines in the capital, pointing out that a committee was formed to count those who were killed and went missing when Al-Qaida seized the towns.
More than 270,000 people fled Abyan during the war on Al-Qaida to Aden and nearby provinces.