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The New Arab

Yemeni university reopens under 'pressure' from al-Qaeda

Mukalla has been under AQAP control since April 2015 [AFP]

Date of publication: 16 February, 2016

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Hadramaut University in the southern Yemeni city of Mukalla announced that it would resume its activities later this months amid claims the move comes under pressure from al-Qaeda.

A Yemeni university has announced the resumption of studies after months of suspension amid claims that al-Qaeda pressured it to reopen.

The Hadramaut University in the southern Yemeni port city of Mukalla announced that it would reopen its doors on 28 February after being closed for months due to the city's security situation and a university financial crisis.

The university's administration said in a statement that it will resume its operations with the financial and academic resources at its disposal, and encouraged students to return to their classes.

While some students welcomed the opportunity to continue their studies, local activists raised questions about the timing of the announcement since Mukalla has been relatively stable for months.

A source within the university told The New Arab that al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) had pressured the university to reopen in a bid to portray life in the al-Qaeda controlled city as normal.

The source said that the militant group offered the cash-strapped university money to overcome its crisis in return for a resumption of university life, which the university allegedly accepted.

Hadramaut University has 15,000 students from the governorates of Hadramaut, Shabwa and al-Mahrah.

Yemen's educational sector has been severely affected by the conflict that has ravaged the country since March 2015.

AQAP has taken advantage of the chaos gripping Yemen to make territorial gains, and took control of Mukalla, the capital of the vast Hadramaut governorate in April 2015.

Earlier this month, the group declared an "Islamic State" in Yemen's southern Zinjibar region.

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