A local security official in the Yemeni province of Abyan says Saudi agents are training extremists and al-Qaeda militants in the violence-stricken region.
“Our war today against al-Qaeda elements resembles fighting between and guerrillas and armed groups,” Mohammad Khadhar, deputy director of the security office in the town of Mudia, told al-Alam news network on Wednesday.
Khadhar pointed to presence of foreign forces among al-Qaeda militants in Yemen and charged Saudi officials with providing the extremists with military training.
He further added that the Saudi agents have also been recruiting Yemeni youths in the southern region.
Informed security sources in Mudia accused al-Qaeda militants of using women and children as human shields in their battles with army forces.
Ongoing clashes between the Yemeni army, and al-Qaeda militants and other armed groups have climbed in the past two days, especially in Abyan’s towns of Loder and Mudia.
Militants have stepped up attacks on Yemeni security officers and carried out a failed attempt to kill a British diplomat in the capital, Sana’a.
Yemeni troops launched a campaign on suspected al-Qaeda cells in the town of Mudia, clashing with militants in the town and pounding the nearby mountains. Some of the shelling reportedly struck civilian centers in Mudia and nearby villages.
Hundreds of residents from around 20 villages in the area have had to flee their homes, the Yemeni Organization for Human Rights and Freedoms said in a statement on Monday. At least four civilians have been killed in the clashes, it added.