HADI TROOPS TAKE KEY MOTORWAY
UAE-trained Yemeni forces secure 250km road that links Shabwa province in the south with the Saudi border
Pro-government troops trained by the UAE secured a key motorway in Yemen linking a southern province to the Saudi border.
The operation to secure the 250-kilometre road from Shabwa province was carried out by Yemeni special forces, a security source told AFP. Shabwa province was a former bastion of Al Qaeda.
“The highway had been under the control of Al Qaeda, gangs and robbers,” the source said, and that “security forces were facing constant ambush”.
Those forces launched a major operation against Al Qaeda two months ago, driving it from the Shabwa with American backing.
The jihadists are thought to have moved farther south into neighbouring Abyan province, where they have since been blamed for suicide attacks on Yemen’s military.
Meanwhile, Yemeni police arrested 10 members of the Islamist Al Islah party, the group said yesterday.
The arrests came after a roadside bombing killed a cleric with ties to the United Arab Emirates.
Imam Yassin Al Adani, a Yemeni cleric who serves as spiritual adviser to UAE troops allied with the government in Yemen’s war, was killed when a roadside bomb struck his car near the Zayed mosque in Aden on Tuesday, security sources told AFP.
The cleric’s 12-year-old son was injured in the attack, the sources said.
The Yemeni government has not officially named suspects responsible for the bombing, but the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Al Islah said police had arrested 10 members of the Islamist movement at dawn, including under-secretary general Mohammed Abdulmalik and a field commander.
A source in Aden’s police force confirmed that officers had raided Al Islah’s offices in the city, arresting 10 members and confiscating explosives.
The arrests came as the International Crisis Group said yesterday that Saudi Arabia has an opportunity to mediate in the conflict after a rift in Yemen’s rebel camp.
In a report, the ICG said Saudi Arabia and its allies – including Britain and the US – should move fast to “capitalise on a division that they have encouraged”.
The report said they should turn the political rift between Yemeni strongman and former president Ali Abdullah Saleh and his Houthi allies into a ceasefire and ensure the rebels cut all ties with Iran.
“The timing is ripe but the opportunity easily could slip away,” ICG said.
Meanwhile, the UN special envoy for Yemen, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, accused the country’s warring leaders of refusing to end fighting and liberate people “from the
scourge of famine and conflict”. With the war entering its fourth year, Mr Ahmed said that “the situation will continue worsening” if the parties do not listen to the people of Yemen and display flexibility. He also said heavy fighting continues because leaders stand to lose wealth and power.
Mr Ahmed told the UN Security Council on Tuesday he is working to bring parties back to negotiations. He urged the council “to use all of its political and economic power to exert pressure on all parties to commit to a pact of peace”.
Compounded by poverty, cholera and looming mass starvation, the war in Yemen has claimed more than 8,500 lives.
In 2015, a Saudi-led coalition – which includes the UAE – intervened and joined the internationally recognised government’s fight against the Houthi rebel alliance.