ADEN, Yemen, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Fighters from the al Qaeda affiliated Ansar al-Sharia militant group have taken control of an army base housing a brigade in southern Yemen, the group said on its Twitter account on Thursday.
There was no official comment from the government or the military on the claim. Residents and local news sites reported that the base in the southern province of Shabwa fell in heavy clashes after a siege lasting several hours.
Shabwa is a stronghold of al Qaeda and like-minded militants. Ansar al-Sharia in previous years took advantage of Yemen's political chaos and unrest to seize entire districts and towns before being pushed back by the army.
Yemen is in the middle of a huge upheaval as the Houthis, a Shi'ite Muslim militia which is an arch enemy of Yemen's Sunni Islamist militants, consolidate their grip on power after sidelining the central government. (Reporting by Mohammad Mukhashaf; Writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; Editing by Crispian Balmer)