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Qaida militants free 250 prisoners in SE Yemen: official

(Xinhua)

17:18, January 16, 2012

SANAA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of al-Qaida militants broke into a central jail in Yemen's southeastern province of al-Bayda on Monday, setting free about 250 prisoners, a provincial security official said, a day after the terrorist group seized the province 's Radda town.

"Hundreds of al-Qaida bearded men wearing security uniform onboard pickup trucks stormed the central prison in Radda this morning, killing several security soldiers and releasing 250 prisoners," the official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The militants also took over all security checkpoints around and inside the city, as well as several government facilities, including the post office and the telecommunications center, the official said, adding that the militants were surrounding the building of the Central Bank of Yemen.

"More militants were still flooding into Radda from nearby provinces of Marib, Abyan, Shabwa, Hadramout, Aden, Lahj and Saada, " said the official.

On Sunday,the militants seized Radda town of al-Bayda province, which borders the restive province of Abyan, a key stronghold of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The AQAP group has seized several cities and towns across the restive southern provinces, as the Yemeni government forces engaged in fierce clashes with militants over past months, leaving hundreds of people killed.

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