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ADEN: Insurgents and government forces inflicted a “human rights catastrophe” in parts of southern Yemen earlier this year in a struggle that saw an Al Qaeda linked group carry out amputations and a crucifixion, Amnesty International said yesterday.
The turmoil in Abyan province, one of the worst episodes of lawlessness in a country suffering multiple internal conflicts, has worried neighbouring oil power Saudi Arabia and is seen by the West as a threat to shipping lanes in the seas off Yemen.
Amnesty demanded that the abuses in the southern province be examined by an inquiry announced in September by the government into alleged rights violations during a popular revolt against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011.
A US-backed Yemeni military offensive drove Ansar Al Sharia (Partisans of Islamic Law) from southern cities and towns in June, nearly a year after the militant group captured swathes of Abyan after last year’s popular uprising, which eventually forced former President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.