Yemeni forces arrived early Monday in Baidha province led by the army’s chief of staff to launch a campaign against Al-Qaeda militants who have lately started to regroup in the Rada city, Almasdar Online reported on Wednesday.
Hundreds of soldiers, 50 tanks and other equipment were dispatched to Rada amid reports tribal elders in the province are trying to mediate and convince the militants to leave the city without any battles with the government, it quoted local sources as saying.
“The campaign mainly aims to retake control of some parts of Rada which are almost under control of Al-Qaeda-linked militants ,” a source told the website.
Last year, the army fought Al-Qaeda militants who took over parts of Rada and were about to declare the city as an Islamic emirates just after AQAP and its offshoot, the Sharia supporters, which declared key towns in Abyan as Islamic emirates.
A tribal mediation convinced the militants to leave the city then in return for the release of some Qaeda prisoners.
Meanwhile, the tribal elders are trying to prevent the military campaign from fighting the militants. “The elders have denounced violence and all acts of sabotage. They are negotiating with the government that they can convince the militants to leave the city without bloodshed,” the source told the website.
Lately, warplanes and US drones have been flying over some districts where the militants are based raising concerns of the locals who have demanded to stop that.
According to the website, the militants are based in the districts of Manasih and Himat Sarar, both are about 15 km from Rada.
The Yemeni army launched last year a US-backed offensive and drove Al-Qaeda militants out of their strongholds in Abyand and Shabwa provinces.
The authorities, also with direct US support, have been since hunting the remaining operatives with US drones targeting key leaders and militants.