Eight killed in clashes between UAE-backed Yemeni forces, Al-Qaeda
Yemeni officials and tribal leaders said that security forces were pursuing al-Qaeda militants Saturday in the southern Abyan province, leaving at least seven extremists and one soldier dead.
The fighting came a day after al-Qaeda attacked and overran a military camp in the same province, killing at least 20 soldiers.
The troops chasing the militants through the mountainous areas of al-Mahfad district are part of the "Security Belt" force trained by the United Arab Emirates, a member of the Saudi-led coalition fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels since 2015.
The Houthis control most of northern Yemen, including the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not allowed to talk to reporters. The tribal leaders asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.
In a statement, the security forces confirmed the soldier's death and said that the military camp was retaken from Al-Qaeda on Friday.
The UAE nominally supports the internationally recognized Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi but has pursued its own agenda in the war-torn country. It has armed and trained militias - including the "Security Belt" - who want to establish a separate state in southern Yemen and are outside government control.