by Will Kohler
Two militants from the Al-Qaeda linked group Ansar al-Sharia in Yemen have reportedly shot dead a Yemeni man in the southern Lahj province, accusing him of being a homosexual, a police source said on Tuesday according to the AFP .
The attackers from the Ansar al-Sharia group, which is on the US terror list, opened fire at 20-year-old Hashem al-Asmi late Monday in the provincial capital of Huj, the source told AFP, adding that the gunmen fled on their motorbike after killing Asmi.
The attackers who “accused the man of being gay… belong to Ansar al-Shariah,” the source said on condition of anonymity.
Ansar al-Sharia is the local branch of Al-Qaeda in Yemen where the network, although weakened, is still active mainly in the southern and eastern parts of the country.
Al-Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of Yemen’s south and east in 2011 but Yemeni government troops have recaptured much of the territory with support from US drone strikes, but jihadists still remain keeping bases in the desert and carry out hit-and-run attacks
Ansar al-Sharia militants had tired to impose a strict version of sharia (Islamic law) on residents, executing citizens they accused of various crimes. They had also severed the hands of many accused of burglary.