Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is sey to establish an 'Islamic Emirate' in the eastern Yemeni region based on strict Sharia principles, in a bid to match the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which recently declared a Caliphate in a region encompassing parts of Iraq and Syria.
The Yemeni group, widely considered as the most dangerous and active arm of al-Qaeda, has issued scores of fliers in Hadhramaut region of Yemen about setting up the emirate.
Women have been warned not to step out of their houses without legal male company. The region already practices a stringent form of Islamic law and the AQAP is said to have only tightened the screws in the backdrop of intensifying changes in the Arab world.
"AQAP warns male and female Muslims in Wadi Hadramout that they must adhere to the laws of Islamic Sharia after the debauchery that we have seen in the souks. We warn all women that they have to adhere to the Sharia-enforced hijab and [wear gloves] ... men must not enter women's souks unless strictly necessary ... Whoever violates this, will have to bear punishment," according to a statement in the leaflet distributed in the region, reports local daily al-Ayyam.
According to the Sharia law, the hard-line framework of Islamic principles, punishment for such crimes includes flogging, mutilation or stoning to death.
The residents in the area have been given 10 days to fully adhere to the fresh rules. Young people in the region have also been ordered to avoid "meaningless conversations" in public.
The brochures were distributed by armed militants, who did not even cover their faces as they usually do, signalling their increasing belligerence against the Yemeni government.
Yemeni women are generally conservatively dressed with their bodies fully covered in hijabs. Although the Yemeni constitution is based on Islamic legislation, the harsher forms of Sharia are not strictly imposed.
Earlier, the al-Qaeda had openly condemned the extreme methods of its own offshoot Isis, which has captured several cities and swathes of northern Iraq and founded an Islamic Caliphate.