As the Yemeni government attempts to put down unarmed protests in the north, jihadist groups are gaining ground in the country’s south, surrounding the port city of Aden.”Roving gangs” of highly organised fighters tied to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and other radical groups are taking control of villages and towns, and threatening to overrun the city, The New York Times reports.
With government ministers and police chiefs fleeing the region, the city of 800,000 on the coast of the strategic Gulf of Aden is virtually defenseless, with most military commanders avoiding confronting the forces.
The United States is stepping up its drone strikes in the region, seeking to prevent the radical forces from seizing power in the region.
Many Yemeni citizens blame President Ali Abdullah Saleh for not doing enough to protect residents in the country’s south. The U.S. has urged Saleh to step aside in order to end a months-long political stalemate in the capital of Sana.
Saleh has been in Saudi Arabia since early June seeking medical treatment, after being injured in an rocket-propelled grenade attack on his compound.
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