ADEN, (Reuters) – Two fugitive al Qaeda-linked militants who dug their way out of a Yemeni jail last month were detained by security services on Tuesday, the Defence Ministry said in a text message.
The two men were part of a group that escaped from prison in the coastal province of Hodeidah after digging a tunnel from their cell to a nearby graveyard.
Yemen is home to a tenacious offshoot of al Qaeda, which has exploited political instability in the impoverished state to gain a foothold there.
Protests that eventually toppled President Ali Abdullah Saleh severely weakened central government control over whole swathes of the country and allowed militants to go on a rampage in the south, where they seized towns and imposed Islamic law.
Alarmed by al Qaeda’s clout in Yemen, the United States backed an offensive that drove militants out of their strongholds last month, but a number of attacks since then indicate they still have the ability to strike government targets.