Al-Qaeda threatened today to kill the leader of a pro-government force in southern Yemen, putting a bounty on his head, as it seeks to impose itself on the war-torn country.
Al-Qaeda's branch in Yemen, in a statement circulated during main weekly prayers in mosques, vowed to kill Abdellatif al-Sayed, the Abyan provincial commander of the Popular Resistance, an alliance of Sunni Islamists, tribesmen, loyalist soldiers and southern secessionists.
Accusing him of having "stabbed the mujahedeen in the back", it placed a bounty of seven million Yemeni riyals ($32,500) on his head and warned that his accomplices would be regarded as "legitimate targets".
On Wednesday, the jihadists briefly seized control of the town of Jaar in Abyan province, killing 11 members of the Popular Resistance, including its deputy leader, Ali al-Sayed.
Control of Jaar could potentially open up a supply route between Al-Qaeda's stronghold of Mukalla, in Hadramawt province, and Yemen's second city Aden, as it seeks to take advantage of fighting between loyalist and rebel forces across the country.