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Southern Separatists, Forces Loyal to Yemeni President Clash in Aden

  • Edward Yeranian

Smoke billows from a hilltop during clashes between fighters from Yemen's southern separatist movement and forces loyal to the Saudi-backed president in the country's second city of Aden, Jan. 28, 2018.

Arab media is reporting scattered clashes around Yemen's southern interim capital of Aden between forces loyal to exiled President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi and southern separatists. At least 16 people are reported killed and about 140 wounded in two days of fighting.

In a second day of clashes Monday, forces loyal to Yemeni President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi exchanged gunfire with southern separatist fighters around key government buildings in Aden. Arab media report several official government buildings are in the hands of the separatists but that a standoff prevails between the two sides in most places.

Supporters of the southern Yemeni separatists demonstrate against the government in Aden, Yemen Jan. 28, 2018.
Supporters of the southern Yemeni separatists demonstrate against the government in Aden, Yemen Jan. 28, 2018.

Supporters of the separatists chanted slogans against Hadi's government in several major squares of Aden. Clashes also took place in other parts of the city.

Southern Yemeni separatist leader Aiderous Zubeidi, whom Arab media claim is supported by the United Arab Emirates, insisted the situation in Aden could not remain as is. He vowed to continue to back the Saudi-led coalition in its battle against the Houthi militia group in the north of the country.

Last week, Zubeidi called on the government of Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher to step down, accusing it of corruption and malfeasance. Parts of the government administration under Dagher are based in Aden, while other departments are located in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.

Dagher called the fighting "a coup" by separatist forces. Hadi, who is currently in Riyadh, urged the separatists and his own forces Sunday to observe a cease-fire. Some Arab media reported the separatists were bringing reinforcements from Abyan and Ma'arib provinces to Aden.

Saudi coalition spokesman Turki al-Maliki insisted Monday the goals of the parties in the coalition, including the United Arab Emirates, have not changed. He urged everyone to resolve their differences amicably.

Calling for wisdom and self-restraint, Maliki urged all parties in Aden to come to the negotiating table with Hadi's legitimate government to resolve their differences.

Yemeni analyst Yehya Abou Hatem in Cairo told Arab media the separatists have "been part of the ongoing national dialogue in Yemen" and "have no clear reason" to withdraw their support from the government now.

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