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Yemen authorities boost efforts to nab disguised militants in Al Mukalla

At least 60 policewomen have been deployed around various entry points in the city to check vehicles carrying women

Image Credit: Supplied
Policewomen deployed around Mukalla to spot militants disguised as women.
Gulf News

Al Mukalla: Security authorities in Yemen’s southeastern province of Hadramout have deployed dozens of policewomen at military checkpoints outside Al Mukalla and neighbouring regions to detect Al Qaida militants who seek to sneak back into their former stronghold by disguising themselves in women’s clothing.

Major General Ahmad Saeed Bin Bourek, the governor of Hadramout, told Gulf News on Monday that policemen have nabbed several Al Qaida militants donning abayas and foiled attempts to smuggle arms into or out of Al Mukalla.

“We have deployed 60 policewomen at all entrances of Al Mukalla and other major towns to check vehicles carrying women. We want to make sure that Al Qaida does not sneak into the city to undermine security,” Bin Bourek said.

In Yemen’s conservative society, vehicles carrying females usually go unchecked at checkpoints.

After occupying Al Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city, Sheher and Ghayel Bawazer for more than a year, thousands of UAE-funded and trained forces drove the militants out of their strongholds early last year.

Officials told Gulf News that some Al Qaida militants who did not flee the offensive, tried to sneak out of Al Mukalla in abayas.

“They have recently faked a wedding procession to slip into Al Mukalla. Policewomen discovered that the bride was actually an armed Al Qaida militant,” the governor said.

Unlike other liberated provinces in South Yemen that have not fully recovered from Al Houthi and Al Qaida occupation, Al Mukalla has seen improved security and uninterrupted supplies of goods and fuel.

Schools and universities have also been open since liberation.

Meanwhile, the Yemeni Ministry of Defence said on Monday that as many as 20 Al Houthi fighters were killed when they unsuccessfully attempted to recapture Bouqa market in the northern province of Saada.

Fighting in the Al Houthi heartland of Saada has intensified in recent weeks amid a coalition-backed government offensive.

The Saudi-led coalition has been instrumental in giving air support and providing logistical support to the advancing Yemeni army which is on the verge of completely liberating Bouqa.

Meanwhile, outside Sana’a intense fighting continued along the Nehim-Arhab borders between rebel and Yemen army backed by air strikes from coalition fighter jets.