Yemen's president says some tribal chiefs and government officials are helping al-Qaida fighters hide after the military defeated the militants in the country's south.

President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi says "there are tribal chiefs and senior officials who are covering-up for al-Qaida figures" in Abyan and Shabwa provinces and "impeding security measures to arrest them."

Hadi spoke to lawmakers and senior officials Sunday night. He did not name any suspects.

Hadi took over after former President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in February following a U.S.-backed power transfer deal to resolve the country's crisis.

Yemen has been wracked by political turmoil that followed last year's popular uprising against Saleh's rule and an al-Qaida insurgency that captured large swathes of land in the south.