Islamic militants kill Yemen governor in convoy

Passers-by examine the wreckage of Governor Gaafar Mohamed Saad's vehicle. Picture: AFP/Getty
Passers-by examine the wreckage of Governor Gaafar Mohamed Saad's vehicle. Picture: AFP/Getty
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A huge explosion has killed the governor of Yemen’s southern Aden province and six of his bodyguards in an attack claimed by a local Islamic State affiliate.

Governor Gaafar Mohamed Saad was travelling to his office when the explosion struck his convoy in the southern port city.

Authorities were yesterday investigating the exact cause of the explosion.

An IS affiliate claimed the attack in a statement circulated online by supporters, saying the bomb was concealed in a parked car along the convoy’s route.

The group referred to Mr Saad as a “tyrant” and warned the “heads of the infidels” in Yemen that it would carry out “operations to chop off their rotten heads”.

IS has claimed a series of bombings that killed 159 people and wounded 345 this year in Yemen.

The extremists have been able to expand their reach in the chaos of Yemen’s larger conflict, between a loose array of pro-government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition and Shiite Houthi rebels, who control the capital, Sanaa, and large parts of northern Yemen.

Pro-government forces drove the Houthis out of Aden earlier this year.

A local al-Qaeda affiliate has exploited the chaos to seize territory in Yemen’s south and east, and has a growing presence in Aden.

On Saturday, masked gunmen in Aden killed a military intelligence official and a judge known for sentencing al-Qaeda militants. No one claimed those attacks.

For year the country has been beset by instability, lawlessness and poverty.

Around half of all Yemenis live below the poverty line and earlier this year almost 16 million people, or 61 per cent of the population, were in need of some form of humanitarian aid.

Just under half of Yemen’s population is under 18. The UN children’s fund Unicef has warned that an average of eight children are being killed or maimed in Yemen every day.

A report published by Amnesty International on 18 August said all parties to the conflict might have committed war crimes. It accused the Saudi-led coalition of carrying out unlawful air strikes on heavily-populated sites with no military targets nearby, and the Houthis of using heavy weapons ­indiscriminately.