Al Mukalla: The commander of the UAE forces in Yemen said on Thursday that the government forces backed by the Arab coalition would pursue Al Qaida militants who went into hiding after losing control of the city of Al Mukalla early last week.

Brigadier Musallam Al Rashidi said that some Al Qaida militants are stilling hiding in the city and the surrounding areas, urging locals to “quickly” tip off security forces about their locations. “This enemy is sly and clever and waiting,” he said in a press conference in the city of Al Mukalla. Government forces supported by Saudi-led coalition air strikes recaptured the city of Al Mukalla, the capital of Hadramout province and the fifth largest city in Yemen, from Al Qaida. “We would not spare any effort in pursuing those elements wherever they are,”

Commenting on the successful military plan that led to the liberation of Mukalla, Al Rashidi said there had been long intelligence gathering of information about Al Qaida military sites, arms depots, anti-aircraft guns. “We were so determined to avoid targeting the city’s infrastructure.”

The UAE official said Al Qaida militants have racked up millions of dollars from looting local banks, smuggling oil and taxes of ships.

In a span of a year and twenty-two days, Al Rashidi said Al Qaida “looted $100 million from local banks and earned $2 million daily from taxes on ships. Al Qaida has lost an important source of financing. The excruciating operation would contribute to world peace.”

In the wake of the assault, the coalition’s navy imposed a blockade on the city to prevent the militants from fleeing or getting military support from the sea. According to Al Rashidi, the coalition’s navy destroyed nine boats carrying fleeing militants sailing to Somalia.

“There is a plan with the governor of Hadramout and the commander of the Second Military Region including conducting an urgent preliminary survey to assess the conditions of water, sanitation, education, health, communication and other public services. There are tonnes of humanitarian aid heading to the city from the UAE.”

The governor of Hadramout, Ahmad Bin Bourek, said in a conference that his priority is maintaining security in the liberated city.