Saturday, 24 February, 2018

Yemen PM 'holed up' as Aden palace surrounded

The clashes came after separatist forces seized government buildings in what Yemen's prime minister called an attempted coup. Aden Yemen Yemen Separatists Form Blockade Around Pro-Govt. Camp in Aden
Steve Townsend | 31 January, 2018, 06:16

The UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council has declared victory over the UN-backed government of Yemeni President Abd rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the southern city of Aden today.

An image from video shows fighters loyal to the separatist so-called Southern Transitional Council, backed by the United Arab Emirates, near the presidential palace in Aden, Yemen, on January 30.

The violence has killed at least 36 people and wounded 185 since Sunday, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.

The UAE-trained force, dubbed the "security belt", is stationed in southern Yemen and supports the STC.

South Yemen was independent - with former British colony Aden as its capital - from its formation in 1967 until 1990, when it was unified with North Yemen.

Aden is meant to be the "interim" capital of the pro-Saudi Hadi government, but is also the historical capital of South Yemen.

While President Abedrabbo 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.

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Yemen's government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels over the control of the country for about three years.

He urged the Saudi-led coalition to intervene in its defence.

At the same time, a key member of that coalition, the United Arab Emirates, has closely backed the STC with an eye toward maintaining crucial oil shipping routes in Yemen's south.

Yemen's presidency on Monday condemned recent developments in southern Aden province, describing them as "tantamount to a coup".

It has also exposed deep cracks within the Saudi-led coalition, which has been fighting Yemen's Houthi rebels on behalf of Hadi's government since March 2015. Fierce fighting previously broke out between militants and the Yemeni government forces, on Sunday. Turki al-Maliki suggested that the Hadi faction explore the demands of the separatists and seek talks.

And the broken pact threatens to undermine still another, the Saudi-led Arab coalition that has been conducting an airstrike campaign meant to dislodge the Shiite Houthis since 2015.

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