Published : 2013-09-03 20:49
Updated : 2013-09-03 20:49
ADEN (AFP) - A gun battle in the southern Yemeni province of Abyan left two suspected Al-Qaeda militants and a pro-government militiaman dead on Tuesday, an official from the militia said.
Fighting between Al-Qaeda militants and the Popular Resistance Committees, which back the government, took place in Batis, northwest of the city of Jaar, the official said.
Tuesday's violence erupted a day after a failed attack on the chief of the Committees in Abyan, Abdullatif Sayed. A blast targeted Sayed's car, but the militia official told AFP that he "escaped unharmed.”
The militias, who recruit from the heavily-armed tribes in the area, fought a fierce war alongside the army in mid-2012. They helped to drive Al-Qaeda militants out of the main cities of Abyan, after the extremist network had held them for a year.
Al-Qaeda had strengthened its presence in south and eastern Yemen, taking advantage of the weakness of the central authority, mainly during the year-long uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.