Yemeni officials say land mines planted by al-Qaida militants before they fled from key southern strongholds have killed 73 civilians over the past week.
The governor’s office in Zinjibar, the provincial capital of Abyan, says engineering teams have removed some 3,000 land mines around the city and near the southern town of Jaar. The killed civilians were residents of the area.
Government troops captured both towns after a two-month offensive to uproot al-Qaida fighters from large swaths of land they captured during last year’s political turmoil.
Today’s statement from the governor’s office also says Jaar residents discovered bodies of 20 militants and two soldiers killed during last week’s fighting.
Muqbel Shaddad, a Jaar resident, said over the phone that the bodies were found scattered in bushes and around the countryside.