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Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has issued a statement threatening to kill 55 named policemen in Yemen's restive southern province of Abyan. In a statement distributed in the provincial capital Zinjibar, AQAP lists the police officers and says "they have become legitimate targets for us from Friday," the first day of the Eid al-Fitr feast marking the end of Ramadan. The group calls on them "to repent in public at Zinjibar mosque following Friday prayers or be killed," said the statement, the authenticity of which could not be confirmed.

 

The list named 31 state security officers, 15 members of the judiciary police and nine members of military intelligence, a police officer whose name is on the list told news agencies.

 

AQAP members operate openly in south Yemen, handing out leaflets in mosques and launching ever more audacious attacks against the security forces.

 

Militants have claimed responsibility for a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks, including murdering a security services official in Yemen's eastern Marib province.

 

September 10, 2010

 

 

Analysis and Forecast: Increasing Risk

 

This is a very serious breach and infiltration by Al Qaeda of Yemen’s security forces. The fact that they were able to obtained names of senior offices working against Al Qaeda in this heavily closed country demonstrates that there may be Al Qaeda sympathizers within the police force. This possibility was raised by Political Capital earlier in the year, when Al Qaeda attacked the convoy of the British ambassador in Sanaa, after finding out its route.

 

With Al Qaeda now effectively moving and operating unchecked in parts of south Yemen, and the government’s inability to hold them back, and given the support of the local population in the south, it may be a turning point as the country now slowly breaks away. The government appears incapable of reversing this trend and without a dramatic change of policy, Al Qaeda appear more like to establish a state in south Yemen.