Yemeni officials say clashes between UAE-backed separatists and a rival splinter group in the southern port city of Aden have left at least 10 dead, including four civilians
SANAA, Yemen – Clashes between UAE-backed Yemeni separatists and a rival splinter group in the southern port city of Aden left at least 10 dead, including four civilians, on Saturday. announced security officials.
The fighting took place in the residential area of Crater in Aden, where the presidential palace and other government buildings are located, they said. It pits the forces of the Southern Secessionist Transitional Council against an armed religious group that was once part of the council, officials said.
The armed group is led by the brigadier. Imam al-Noubi, a Salafi officer who commanded a faction of the separatist militia known as the Security Belt. He became a dissident two years ago after falling out with the head of the council, according to an official.
Officials said a dozen fighters were also injured in the clashes, which calmed down on Saturday evening after the seat belt deployed reinforcements, including armored vehicles, to the neighborhood.
The seat belt called on the residents of Crater to stay at home, as “Aden security forces and counterterrorism forces cleanse the area of certain terrorist groups and hotbeds.”
Residents said they heard heavy gunfire and shelling that hit apartment buildings.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media, and residents did so for fear of reprisal.
The Southern Transition Council is a coordinating group of heavily armed and well-funded militias, supported by the United Arab Emirates since 2015. It hopes to restore an independent southern Yemen, which existed from 1967 to 1990.
The council controls large swathes of southern Yemen, including Aden, which serves as the interim capital for the internationally recognized government of exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
The clashes in the crater came two weeks after protests in Aden and other southern towns over dire living conditions amid an unprecedented drop in the value of the local currency, the rial.
The rial lost 36% of its value in July, according to the United Nations humanitarian agency. One US dollar trades for over 1,000 rials on the black market.
A Saudi-led coalition went to war in March 2015, backed by the United States, in an attempt to bring Hadi back to power, and gave support to his government backed by the international community. The conflict has largely deteriorated to a stalemate and spawned the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.
Tens of thousands of Yemenis live in conditions bordering on famine. More than 20 million of the country’s roughly 30 million people need some form of humanitarian assistance, UN says