Bomb targeting southern Yemen separatist leaders kills, injures fighters
A military convoy carrying leaders from the separatist “Security Belt” militia was hit by an explosion in the southern Yemeni city of Aden, killing and injuring an unspecified number of people, Reuters and local sources reported on Thursday.
A local source told The New Arab’s Arabic-language service that an improvised explosive device (IED) blew up while the convoy was travelling on the road between the Al-Haswa and Al-Shaab districts in the west of Aden.
The “Security Belt” militia is the elite military wing of the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates and seeks to establish a separate state in southern Yemen.
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The STC tweeted that the casualties were troops accompanying Brigadier General Mohsen Al-Wali, the head of the Security Belt forces, who was unhurt. It did not say exactly how many people were killed or injured.
The local sources who spoke to The New Arab’s Arabic service said that following the blast, heavy gunfire targeting the military convoy was heard from the surrounding area.
Video shared by pro-STC activists on social media showed a white vehicle with a considerable amount of damage, Reuters said.
No side took responsibility for the attack.
The STC challenges the authority of the internationally-recognized Yemeni government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. Hadi’s government fled to Aden in 2015, after Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the Yemeni capital Sana’a.
Last January, Brigadier General Al-Wali announced the formation of a new separatist military formation, to be called the Aden Ring Belt Forces. The move was interpreted as a provocation to Hadi’s government.
In December 2020, the STC and Hadi’s government signed the Riyadh Agreement, agreeing to form a coalition government, but the Security Belt refuses to implement the military aspects of the agreement.
More than 100,000 people have been killed since Yemen’s complex conflict began in 2014 and the UN says that the country is suffering the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.