UAE-backed Yemen militia kidnap Saudi-appointed official in Aden

UAE-backed Yemen militia kidnap Saudi-appointed official in Aden
2 min read
20 February, 2020
The kidnapping of a Saudi-appointed official by an Emirati-backed group indicate the further fracturing of the Riyadh agreements in restive Aden.
Fighters with Yemen's STC head for Aden in November 2019 [Getty]
Yemeni militants belonging to the Emirati-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) kidnapped a Saudi-appointed local official in the southern port city of Aden on Thursday, the latest sign of tensions in the war-torn country between the two Gulf allies.

The gunmen stormed the home of Mohammed Taher, the head of the payroll committee of the Security Belt Forces - a paramilitary wing of the STC - and took him to an unknown destination, sources told Anadolu.

Taher had been appointed to his position by the Saudi-Emirati coalition as part of the implementation of the Riyadh accords, a power-sharing deal agreed between the UAE-backed separatists and the Saudi-backed government in November.

Local media reported that Taher had been taken to the headquarters of Security Belt Forces' counter-terrorism unit in the Gold Mohur area of Aden, however, this could not be verified.

In-depth: Yemen's oil-rich Shabwah province faces a dangerous power struggle

Yemen's conflict erupted in 2014 when the government was forced out of the capital Sanaa by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels, triggering a Saudi-led military intervention.

In August, trouble re-erupted on a separate front, as southern secessionists seized control of Aden, the internationally-recognised government's temporary capital.

The UAE - a key part of the Saudi-led coalition helping fight the Houthis in Yemen's main conflict arena - trained and remains close to separatist troops, signalling rifts within the Gulf powers' intervention.

In a bid to end the "civil war within a war", Saudi Arabia brokered the Riyadh accords,which stipulated the creation - within 30 days of a new 24-member cabinet with equal representation for the southerners.

However, the agreement has been difficult to implement, and was dealt a resounding blow in January when the STC withdrew from the key committee charged with implementing the agreements.

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