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Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] - 2019

By 2019, in Shabwah Governorate of Yemen, attacks by the Shabwani Elite Forces had helped to restrict the movements of Al-Qaida fighters. Those attacks were carried out in the mountains, gorges and valleys of the Governorate where Al-Qaida members and leaders had been hiding. As a result, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) (QDe.129) members have found it difficult and sometimes impossible to move freely in the districts of Ataq, Azzan, Alsayyd and Hawtah. They fled to the mountains bordering Bayda’ Governorate. The group deployed improvised explosive devices in an attempt to respond to the attacks of the Shabwani Elite Forces.

In Bayda’ Governorate, AQAP and ISIL continued to battle each other in Qayfah district, as each side attempted to gain control of as many fronts in the area as possible. AQAP has inflicted a series of defeats on ISIL, which had seen many of its members killed, injured or taken prisoner. This had come about despite assistance which ISIL receives from the Houthi militias. The Houthis provided tactical help, cooperation, prisoner exchanges and handover of military camps to ISIL under Houthi supervision. One State assessed that Houthi militias were striving to fuel the ongoing conflict between AQAP and ISIL in Bayda’, as it served Houthi interests in the Governorate.

In Abyan Governorate, AQAP members in vehicles bearing the insignia of Ansar al-Sharia fanned out across various districts of the Governorate, including Mudiyah, Mahfid and Lawdar, targeting officials of the Security Belt Forces via terrorist operations against security locations in the Governorate. Member States assess that such individual operations by AQAP are only an attempt to prove their presence in the Governorate in response to the offensive campaign launched against them by the Security Belt Forces and Arab coalition forces. Member States report that AQAP fighters in Abyan have received improvised explosive devices from AQAP camps in Hadramawt and Ma’rib Governorates for continued targeting of Security Belt Forces.

States report that AQAP continued to transfer arms and ammunition from Ma’rib Governorate to the Qayfah area of Bayda’ Governorate, supporting the group’s fighters who are engaged against ISIL. Arms and ammunition are transferred using Toyota Hilux trucks from Hisn al-Jalal and the Great Dam of Ma’rib, where the organization has depots containing light to medium weapons. Most Ma ’rib tribes are well disposed towards AQAP, which gives the organization the ability to move freely in most parts of the Governorate. According to one Member State, Al-Qaida leaders were observed in Ma’rib in mid-November 2019.

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Page last modified: 24-02-2020 18:24:08 ZULU