Ye­men sep­a­ratists sur­round Aden pres­i­den­tial palace

Hadi calls on Arab al­lies to in­ter­vene in govt’s de­fense


ADEN: Sep­a­ratists in war­rav­aged Ye­men have sur­rounded the pres­i­den­tial palace in the gov­ern­ment’s de facto cap­i­tal Aden, mov­ing closer on Tues­day to tak­ing full con­trol of the south­ern city.

The gov­ern­ment has ac­cused the sep­a­ratists of at­tempt­ing a coup in Aden, where more than 36 peo­ple have been killed in clashes that opened yet an­other front in the coun­try’s dev­as­tat­ing con­flict.

The south­ern port city has served as the gov­ern­ment’s base since 2014 af­ter the Iran-backed Houthi mili­tia — which hails from north­ern Ye­men — took con­trol of the cap­i­tal Sanaa.

While Pres­i­dent Abed Rabbo Man­sour Hadi now re­sides in Riyadh, two mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said Prime Min­is­ter Ahmed bin Dagher and a num­ber of senior gov­ern­ment fig­ures were holed up in the Aden pres­i­den­tial palace.

“The sep­a­ratists have sur­rounded the palace and now con­trol the main gate. Those in­side are un­of­fi­cially un­der house ar­rest at this point,” said a high-rank­ing of­fi­cer with the Ye­meni army.

For three years, Hadi’s ad­min­is­tra­tion was al­lied with the sep­a­ratists, driv­ing the Houthi rebels out of the south and back into their strongholds in the north. But ten­sion be­tween the al­lies be­gan to sur­face in April when Hadi dis­missed a Cab­i­net min­is­ter and the Aden gov­er­nor in a move that was widely seen as re­flect­ing di­vi­sions among his sup­port­ers.

Ten­sions boiled over into armed clashes be­tween the sep­a­ratists and pro-gov­ern­ment forces on Sun­day, fu­el­ing chaos in the im­pov­er­ished Ara­bian Penin­sula coun­try.

Un­der the self-pro­claimed South­ern Tran­si­tional Coun­cil (STC), the sep­a­ratists have gained trac­tion since April in their push for self-rule, de­mand­ing the re­in­state­ment of South Ye­men as an in­de­pen­dent en­tity.

The clashes have sparked fears of a re­peat of the 1986 South Ye­men civil war, a failed so­cial­ist coup which killed thou­sands in just six days and helped pave the way for the 1991 uni­fi­ca­tion of South and North Ye­men.

The sep­a­ratists, who en­joy pop­u­lar sup­port and are backed by some mil­i­tary troops, have rapidly gained con­trol over all but one district in Aden since Sun­day. More than 36 peo­ple have been killed and 186 wounded in Aden in two days, ac­cord­ing to the In­ter­na­tional Com­mit­tee of the Red Cross.

Brig. Saleh Al-Sayyed, who heads troops that have fought along­side the sep­a­ratists since Sun­day, an­nounced his forces had seized con­trol of the Fourth Bri­gade, the pres­i­den­tial guard in Aden.

Ye­men’s pres­i­dent has urged the Arab coali­tion to in­ter­vene in the gov­ern­ment’s de­fense. The coali­tion said it would take “all nec­es­sary steps to re­store se­cu­rity” but has not an­nounced any new op­er­a­tion to help the gov­ern­ment in Aden since Sun­day.

Both the coali­tion and the Hadi gov­ern­ment have called for an im­me­di­ate cease-fire in Ye­men, and the In­te­rior Min­istry has pub­licly called on state troops to stop fight­ing.

The coali­tion on Mon­day called on the sep­a­ratists to ex­er­cise re­straint while urg­ing the Ye­meni gov­ern­ment to “take into con­sid­er­a­tion the de­mands of the so­cial and po­lit­i­cal move­ment” in the south.

Fighters from the sep­a­ratist South­ern Tran­si­tional Coun­cil stand next to a tank with the move­ment’s flag af­ter they took con­trol of a pro-gov­ern­ment check­point in Khor­mak­sar, north of Aden, on Tues­day. (AFP)

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saudi Arabia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.