Islamists suspected as Aden police colonel, four others gunned down


Unidentified gunmen have killed a police officer and four others in Yemen’s Aden in a wave of attacks targeting security forces in the violence-plagued port city.

Assailants on Sunday opened fire on a police vehicle carrying Col. Taha al-Sobeihi in Aden’s Mansura district, killing him along with a bodyguard and a female bystander, a security official said.

Al-Qaida and the rival Islamic State group both have a presence in the city, where jihadis occupy government buildings and are seen patrolling several districts and intimidating civilians.

They have claimed a string of attacks and assassinations in recent months.

Late Saturday, unidentified gunmen killed a soldier in Mansura, a security official said.

The man was a recruit in a new force that is loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and trained by the Saudi-led coalition, which in March launched a military campaign against rebels who had overrun large swaths of the country.

Hadi last year named Aden as his government’s temporary capital after Iran-backed rebels stormed the capital Sanaa in September 2014.

Jihadis in the city have distributed pamphlets in mosques, warning men against enrolling in the new force against Houthi insurgents, claiming it would “bring back tyranny,” residents said.

Another man was shot dead Saturday when gunmen attempted to kidnap him along with his father in Aden’s Crater district, a security official said. The two belonged to the Shiite Bohra minority.

Four members of that community have been kidnapped by “extremists” in the past days in Aden, three of whom have already been released, the official said.

Meanwhile, suspected al-Qaida militants blew up a vacant police station in Huta, the main city in Lahj province, which is controlled by loyalists.

Hadi returned to Aden after loyalists backed by coalition forces pushed the rebels and their allies out of the city and four other southern provinces in the summer.

The president sought refuge in Aden from the rebel-held capital last February, but a Houthi advance on the south in March forced him to flee to Riyadh.