Gunmen kill senior Yemen police officer in Aden

Yemenis gather on March 26, 2016 at the site of a suicide bomb attack that struck the day before checkpoints of Yemeni loyalist forces in Shaab district, on Aden's western outskirts.
Yemenis gather on March 26, 2016 at the site of a suicide bomb attack that struck the day before checkpoints of Yemeni loyalist forces in Shaab district, on Aden's western outskirts.PHOTO: AFP

ADEN (AFP) - Gunmen killed a colonel in Yemen's second city Aden on Friday (April 29), a day after the temporary capital's police chief escaped a suicide bombing.

The unidentified gunmen on a motorbike opened fire at the traffic police chief, Colonel Marwan Abdulalim, as he was in his car going to the weekly Friday prayers in central Aden, a security official said.

The attack is the latest targeting senior officials in Aden, the base of the Saudi-backed government. Many of the attacks have been claimed by Al-Qaeda or the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

On Thursday, a suicide bomber blew up a vehicle packed with explosives when he was stopped at a checkpoint on the perimeter of the compound around police chief General Shallal Shayae's house.

Shayae was unharmed in the attack but a security official said one guard was wounded.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks that come after loyalist forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition seized the key southeastern port city of Mukalla and nearby airport and oil facilities from Al-Qaeda, ending a year-long occupation by the jihadists.

Government forces also recaptured Huta, another provincial capital further west, this month.

Military sources in Huta told AFP that authorities were on Friday defusing some 250 landmines and 60 explosive devices jihadists had planted near government buildings before fleeing the city.

Meanwhile in Zinjibar, capital of the southern Abyan province, hundreds of residents took to the streets after Friday prayers demanding Al-Qaeda militants controlling their city to leave, witnesses said.

"No more Qaeda, we want to live safely," they chanted according to witnesses.

The protesters said that Zinjibar residents want to spare their city any fighting after government forces launched an offensive this week to recapture parts of the country overrun by Al-Qaeda during the past year.

According to military sources, Yemeni government forces are now stationed on a road linking Aden to Zinjibar as they prepare to retake the provincial capital.

The Yemen-based Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is regarded by Washington as the network's most dangerous branch, and AQAP militants have come under repeated US air and drone strikes.