ADEN (Yemen) - The son of a tribal leader with alleged links to Al-Qaeda says on Tuesday that he and his father were trapped in their south Yemen house surrounded by hundreds of pro-army militiamen.
"I'm in the house with my father. We are surrounded by hundreds of armed men from the Popular Resistance Committees," Mohammed al-Fadhli, the son of warlord Tarek al-Fadhli, said by telephone before the line went dead.
The pro-army militiamen have been surrounding since late Monday the house of Fadhli, who has fought in Afghanistan, upon his return to the southern city of Zinjibar, local tribal chief Hussein al-Waheshi said earlier.
The militiamen have given Fadhli 24 hours to turn himself in to police to avert having his house stormed by gunmen, he said.
The local security committee met on Tuesday and "agreed that Fadhli should surrender to the public prosecutor who had issued an arrest warrant last month over threats to kill leaders of the (southern) Socialist Party," Waheshi said.
"The ultimatum ends this evening. If he does not surrender, we will be obliged to storm his house and bring him to justice," he added.
Al-Qaeda militants took advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising last year against now ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seizing large swathes of territory across the south, including Zinjibar and other towns in the province of Abyan.
But after a month-long offensive in May launched by Yemeni troops, most militants fled to the more lawless desert regions of the east.
Hundreds of gunmen descended on Zinjibar when they heard of the return of Fadhli "because this man works for Al-Qaeda," Waheshi said.
Authorities in the impoverished nation accused Fadhli of having links to Al-Qaeda.