April 30 - Some 73 Yemeni soldiers captured by al Qaeda-affiliated militants in southern Yemen are freed. Nick Rowlands reports.
Al Qaeda-affiliated militants man a checkpoint in southern Yemen. The Ansar al-Sharia group on Sunday freed 73 Yemeni soldiers it had captured in a major assault on the city of Zinjibar last month in which more than 100 other conscripts were killed. The militant group was threatening to harm the soldiers unless fellow Islamist fighters were released from jail. But in a statement, Ansar al-Sharia said it had released the soldiers out of respect for the tribal leaders and religious scholars who had been sent as mediators, and added that the release had been approved by the leader of al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing. Some of the soldiers on their way home to their families said their captors had treated them well. The year of political upheaval in the country that eventually unseated President Ali Abdullah Saleh has emboldened militants in the south, where they have seized swathes of territory and carried out scores of attacks on security forces. Nick Rowlands, Reuters.