The fight for Abyan's capital Zinjibar resumed, once again cutting of the road to Shaqra, and a convoy of army reinforcements was ambushed near Al-Mahfad
Renewed army-STC clashes in Abyan’s north and south
Two army soldiers were killed early Thursday in an ambush by gunmen linked to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) on the outskirts of Al-Mahfad district in Abyan governorate, according to officials in neighboring Shabwa governorate's capital Ataq.
One official in the Ataq military command and another who works in Shabwa’s local authority told Almasdar Online that the gunmen attacked a cargo truck carrying a government tank in the Dhaiqah area west of Al-Mahfad. The truck was traveling in a convoy transporting army reinforcements to Abyan’s coastal town of Shaqra.
Citing the failure of existing government forces to prevent the ambush, Shabwa’s Security Committee decided to station new forces in the area.
"It is with great regret that the site of the ambush is less than one kilometer from the Al-Mahfad checkpoint, which was found completely empty of any security presence," the committee said in a statement.
Meanwhile, on the eastern outskirts of Abyan’s capital Zinjibar, clashes between government troops and STC forces resumed at dawn Thursday, the Ataq-based military official said. The resumption of fighting there coincides with stalled mediation efforts to negotiate a truce and open the main coastal road Aden, Abyan, Shabwa and Hadhramout governorates.
On Monday, mediators succeeded in opening the road, which runs through Zinjibar and Shaqra, for several hours, before renewed clashes cut off the passage of trucks and vehicles again.
The official said that government and STC forces exchanged artillery fire in the Sheikh Salem, Qarn Al-Kalasi and Al-Tariya areas east of Zinjibar on the road to Shaqra.
Earlier in the week, army forces advanced toward Zinjibar from its northern outskirts near the areas of Sarar and Abr Othman, the official said.
Edited by Casey Coombs