by Florian Flade
A prominent Jihadi Online Forum announced it on Friday with an unofficial post linked to Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) – Al-Qaida fighters have taken control over the South Yemeni city of Zinjibar the statement said without giving any details – “The Mujahidin are patrolling the streets”.
Over the course of the weekend, this report was confirmed by mainstream media, including CNN and Reuters. The media outlets quoted residents of Zinjibar, the capital of Yemen´s Abyan Province as saying “hundreds of militants” came into the city on Friday and occupied the town. Masked Islamists “suddenly arrived and in large numbers. There were no clashes when they arrived on Friday night. We tried to complain to security forces but could not find them”, one Zinjibar resident told CNN.
Yemen´s government confirmed that about 200 al-Qaida men took over control in Zinjibar on the weekend. According to government officials, the Yemeni military is meanwhile involved in heavy fighting in the town, up to a dozen Yemeni soldiers have been killed in the past two days.
Xinhua News Agency reports al-Qaida fighters read a statement to the residents of Zinjibar, declaring the town official being part of the “Islamic Emirate”. Al-Qaida militants attacked to police stations according to Xinhua and seized 30 police cars on Saturday.
A police convoy was ambushed by al-Qaida on the outskirts of Zinjibar, leaving four police men dead, Yemeni security officials said. Eyewitnesses also tell of Yemeni airforce bombing al-Qaida positions in the eastern part of the city.