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Yemen says al-Qaida land mines killed 73 this week

Land mines planted by al-Qaida militants before they fled key southern Yemen strongholds have killed 73 civilians over the past week, Yemeni officials said Tuesday.

Engineering teams have removed some 3,000 land mines around Zinjibar and Jaar, according to the governor's office in Abyan province.

Government troops captured both towns in a two-month offensive to uproot al-Qaida fighters from large swaths of land they captured during last year's political turmoil. Mines left behind killed 73 residents, the officials said.

The statement also said Jaar residents have found the bodies of 20 militants and two soldiers killed in last week's fighting.

Muqbel Shaddad, a Jaar resident, said over the phone that the bodies were scattered in bushes and around the countryside. 

An Interior Ministry official said five al-Qaida militants detained for carrying out terrorist attacks escaped Tuesday from a prison in the port city of Hudayda.

He said one of the detainees was believed to be a senior al-Qaida member who was involved in plotting an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa in 2008. Two other prisoners recruited militants for the group's operations outside Yemen, and another was once detained in Syria after fighting with al-Qaida in Iraq.

The official said the prisoners tunneled their way out of the prison.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters, said the ministry has started an investigation to determine who helped them to escape. (AP)


<관련 한글 기사>

지뢰 폭발로 어린이•여성 73명 사망

예멘 남부에서 알카에다 무장세력이 철수하기 전 매설한 지뢰 폭발로 지난 1주일간 민간인 73명이 숨졌다고 중동 현지 일간지 더내셔널이 27일 보도했다.

예멘 정부 관계자는 지뢰제거반이 최근 아비얀 주 주도 진지바르와 자르에서만 3천개의 지뢰를 제거했다며 희생자 대부분은 여성과 어린이 주민이라고 밝혔다.

이 관계자는 또 자르 주민들이 알카에다 무장대원 20명과 정부군 2명의 시신을 발견했다고 전했다.

지난달 12일부터 미국의 지원을 받으며 알카에다 소탕작전을 전개한 예멘군은 최근 자르, 진지바르, 슈크라 등 남부 아비얀 주의 3개 주요 거점을 탈환했다.

알카에다 무장세력은 현재 동부 샤브와•마리브•하드라마우트 주의 산악지대에 흩어져 있는 것으로 추정된다.

또 일부는 동쪽 국경을 넘어 오만으로 침투했다는 첩보가 있어 오만과 예멘 당국이 조사에 나섰다고 신문은 덧붙였다.