ADEN - Al-Qaeda announced on Friday that it had freed 27 soldiers captured in southern Yemen last month after they had "repented" and promised not to return to the army.
The Partisans of Sharia (Islamic Law), linked to Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said the soldiers had been captured in Al-Kud in Abyan province, where they have seized control of many localities in the past year.
They were freed on Thursday in Azzan, in the neighbouring province of Shabwa, where they had been taken after their capture, the statement added.
At the end of April, Al-Qaeda freed 73 soldiers taken prisoner when militants attacked an army post in the south and killed 185 others.
Since May 12, the army has been pressing a campaign in Abyan to retake the provincial capital, Zinjibar, and other localities now held by Al-Qaeda.
At least 371 people have been killed, according to an AFP tally compiled from official statements. They comprise 271 Al-Qaeda fighters, 64 military personnel, 18 local militiamen and 18 civilians.