Yemen premier allocates 1b to rebuild Abyan

Al Mukalla: Yemen’s prime minister has said that his government, with the help of the Saudi-led coalition, would not allow Al Qaida and Daesh militants to make a comeback in Abyan, pledging to restore social services in the war-torn province.

Speaking at a gathering of senior government and military officials along with hundreds of supporters on Sunday, Ahmad Obeid Bin Dagher said that the internationally-recognised government has allocated 1 billion riyals (Dh14 million) for the reconstruction of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, and Khanfar, and he would lay the foundation stone for a new 35MW power plant.

“We will continuously work with local authority and public servants in the province to address problems of power in districts and we will complete agricultural developments and other services like water, sanitation, and roads,” Bin Dagher said.

The province of Abyan has seen the bloodiest clashes between government forces and Al Qaida militants. In 2011, when the ousted president’s regime was crumbling, Al Qaida exploited the power vacuum and controlled major cities in the province.

Bin Dagher’s visit to Abyan comes as elite counterterrorism forces tightened their grip on several districts that have long been deemed Al Qaida’s strongholds. Dozens of militants have been killed or detained during the current offensive in Wadhea and Moudea districts.

“Abyan would never return to the authority of Al Qaida and Daesh. It will remain under the legitimate government’s authority.” Bin Dadher said.

He has recently visited liberated provinces such as Lahej and Hadramout where he vowed to fix vital public services, mainly electricity, and pay government employees.

Meanwhile, on the battlefield, government forces have said that dozens of the Iran-backed Al Houthi militants have been killed in fierce clashes in Jawf, Hajja, Marib, Saada and Shabwa amid heavy air strikes by Saudi-led coalition fighter jets. The Ministry of Defence said that government loyalists regained control of three hilly positions in the district of Serwah after an offensive on Al Houthi militia. Quoting a local military source, the ministry’s news site, said that the Saudi-led coalition bombed Al Houthi military vehicles and gatherings in the area.

In the province of Taiz, as many as 18 Al Houthi militants were killed on Saturday when Saudi-led coalition fighter jets targeted their positions west of Taiz city.

With massive military help from the Saudi-led coalition, forces loyal to Yemeni president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi have pushed back rebels’ rapid expansion across Yemen.

Gulf News

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