Brigadier Mohammad Saeed Al Jariri Image Credit: Supplied

Al Mukalla: The chief of security of Yemeni province of Hadramout, Brigadier Mohammad Saeed Al Jariri, said on Wednesday that he is working with UAE officers to reconstruct security institutions that broke down a year ago when Al Qaida stormed the province’s capital and many other major cities.

The UAE officers are working in Yemen under a Saudi-led coalition to restore order in the impoverished country.

“I have been in touch with UAE officers for months discussing how to build effective security agencies. They promised to build the security bodies from scratch,” Al Jariri told Gulf News.

Government forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition recaptured the city of Al Mukalla, Yemen’s fifth largest city, on Sunday night after fierce clashes with Al Qaida in the eastern suburbs of the city.

Al Jariri said that security forces have arrested many Al Qaida operatives in the city and raided many suspected arms depots. “We have found ammunition, arms, explosive material factory and car bombs in many houses in the city,” he said.

In April last year, Al Qaida stormed many military camps inside and outside the city and looted heavy arms including rockets, tanks and cannons. Al Jariri said they are searching for these arms and found only a small number of them hidden in houses in Al Mukalla and other districts.

“We do think that Al Qaida still possesses the arms that they received from the army last year. We have received calls from residents in Dir Al Shargia [district] alerting us about arms left by Al Qaida,”

The security official said that government troops were deployed in the city’s entrances and for the first time in the remote districts to prevent Al Qaida from coming back. Despite his assurance, people here voice their concern about the possible resurgence of the drive-by shootings that claimed the lives of dozens of security officers in Hadramout.

“From a security perspective, I can say that the security situation in Al Mukalla and other liberated areas is excellent. Hit-and-run attacks would not take place this time as people are very cooperative and inform us about Al Qaida operatives. The security and army forces are 100 per cent from Hadramout. They know the province inside out.”

Al Jariri said vital government facilities like the seaport, airport and an oil terminal in Dhabah are largely untouched by clashes.