Gulf | Yemen

Al Qaida militants escape in Yemen prison break

Several Al Qaida militants escaped early Monday from a prison in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, officials said, tunnelling their way out in the second such spectacular jailbreak this year

  • By Saeed Al Batati, Correspondent
  • Published: 14:44 December 12, 2011
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: AFP
  • Yemeni anti-government protester march in the streets of Sana'a after the Friday noon prayer on December 9, 2011 to demand that Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh be put on trial over his regime's bloody repression of the opposition movement.
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Sana’a: At least 13 Al Qaida-affiliated inmates escaped in the wee hours of Monday from their prison in the southern port city of Aden, a local source in the city told Gulf News.

“The prisoners tunnelled their way out. They were in jail on charges of killing security officers, theft and other crimes,” he said.

The incident in Aden is similar to the mass escape of prisoners in other countries when troubled regimes were on the verge of collapse. This is a planned incident aimed to destabilise the country as it is on throes of upheaval

Salah Al Saqaledi, Aden-based journalist

The strategic city that overlooks Bab Al Mandeb Strait, recently witnessed a wave of assassination attempts targeting security intelligence officers.

Following the escape, security sources sealed off the city and set up check points. A witness told Gulf News that he had seen army tanks and armed vehicles extensively deployed in the city.

Monday’s escape follows a similar incident in the southern-east city of Mukalla when 62 Al Qaida prisoners escaped through a long tunnel dug from of the city prison’s cell. Days after the escape, Al Qaida-run website showed video explaining the steps of jailbreak.

'Planned incident designed to destabilise'

“The incident in Aden is similar to the mass escape of prisoners in other countries when troubled regimes were on the verge of collapse. This is a planned incident aimed to destabilise the country as it is on throes of upheaval,” Salah Al Saqaledi, Aden-based journalist, said.

The incident comes after UN envoy to Yemen Jamal Bim Omar briefly visited Aden on Sunday night to meet activists of the southern movement.

The city has become a hub for activists who are calling for the break-up of the former Southern Yemen state that merged with the North in 1990.

A journalist close the movement told Gulf News that leaders of the movement presented a file to Bin Omar including the government’s fatal crackdown on the protesters and the number of victims.

“The protesters of the movement received Bin Omar with a flag of the former Southern Yemen which is the symbol that they will only accept the breakup from the North.”

After Aden and Taez, Bin Omar is expected to visit the restive province of Sa’ada to meet Al Houthi leaders.

In the capital, the envoy met with the outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh. Government agency reported that Bin Omar briefed Saleh on his field visits.

Saleh urged the international community to help Yemen to recover from the repercussions of the political crisis.

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