Yemeni security forces inspect vehicles at a checkpoint in Mukalla, the capital of Yemen's southeastern Hadramawt province. Image Credit: AFP

Al Mukalla: At least 57 junior Al Qaida operatives have surrendered to local authorities in Yemen’s Hadramout province after a two-week amnesty period was offered to the militants.

Major General Ahmad Bin Bourek, governor of Yemen’s Hadramout province, added that authorities have also nabbed a ring of assassins linked to Al Qaida in Aden.

The 57 militants have been brought into police custody for interrogation.

“We call on the remaining militants to follow suit. We will interrogate them to find out who recruited them in the first place,” Bin Bourek told a gathering of government officials in the city of Al Mukalla, the capital of the Hadramout province.

Since liberating the city from Al Qaida militants on April 24, local army troops — trained and armed by UAE military officers — have killed and captured hundreds of Al Qaida militants, inflicting a fatal blow to the most dangerous branch of the organisation in the world.

Two-week amnesty

To encourage militants-in-hiding to surface, local security authorities issued a statement on July 29 that it would grant amnesty to Al Qaida members and its sympathisers who surrender within two weeks.

Bin Bourek said the militants would have to sign a pledge in front of their relatives in local courts denouncing violence and promising to return to civilian life.

Meanwhile, in the port city of Aden, police announced that it had busted an eight-member-Al-Qaida-linked cell poised to carry out a string of assassinations against security and resistance figures in Aden.

During interrogation, the ring admitted to killing UAE officer Hadef Hamed Al Shamsi in October 2015, as well as Ahmad Al Edrissi, a senior figure in the Aden resistance, and colonel Hariz Al Halimi, a retired army officer.

The militants said they were paid between 20,000 to 60,000 Saudi riyals for the assassinations.

The rate depended on how high the rank of the designated target.

In another security achievement, Aden police said on Wednesday that Mazen Mohsen Abdullah, also known as Khalid Al Deba, a senior Al-Qaida operative was arrested in a raid by special forces in a house on the outskirts of Houta, the capital of Lahej.

Al Deba is said to have masterminded a string of assassinations and deadly attacks against government and resistance figures and facilities. 

Immediately after liberation from Al Houthis in July last year, the city of Aden, the temporary base of the government, witnessed a wave of killings carried by masked men on motorbikes.

The number of attacks dropped sharply in recent months after police and special forces raided Al Qaida hideouts in Aden and the neighbouring Lahej province.