ADEN (AFP) - Yemen's army has freed the southern city of Zinjibar, overrun by Al-Qaeda suspects in May, and ended a siege of an army base there, state news agency Saba quoted Yemeni officials as saying Saturday. "The heroes of the security and armed forces and the loyal tribesmen have managed to kick out Al-Qaeda gangs from Zinjibar," Saba quoted the governor of Abyan province, Saleh Hussein al-Zoary, as saying. He hailed "the victory of the heroes of the armed and security forces who have ended the blockade that lasted more than three months by Al-Qaeda militants on the 25th Mechanised Brigade and freeing the city of Zinjibar from the terrorist network's elements." A military official earlier announced that the army had driven out the extremists from the central security building and was pursuing them across the city. Residents of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, contacted by telephone confirmed that the eastern part of the city has been freed but said battles were raging in other parts. Soldiers from the 119th Brigade, loyal to defected General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar have been fighting the extremists side-by-side with the 31st and the 201st Brigades, both of which are loyal to embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a military official told AFP. Saleh, meanwhile, congratulated "the brave fighters for their great victory in ending the blockade by Al-Qaeda militants supported by outlaws on the 25th Mechanised Brigade that has lasted more than three months," in a statement carried by Saba.