Yemen’s government warns of coup threat amid Aden clashes
Yemen’s internationally recognized government said on Thursday that it is facing a rebellion similar to the 2014 Houthi takeover of the Yemeni capital Sana’a
In a statement quoted by Yemen’s official SABA news agency, the government accused the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council, which wants to create a separate state in southern Yemen, of responsibility for a recent escalation in violence in Aden.
Heavy fighting has been raging in Aden for two days between UAE-backed southern separatist militias and government forces supported by Saudi Arabia.
The clashes are taking place in the Crater area of central Aden and in the Khormaksar and Dar Saad districts. Residents of Crater are trapped in their own homes and there have been reports of civilian casualties.
Clashes yesterday evening forced the closure of Aden’s international airport.
The fighting began on Wednesday after Hani bin Brek, the deputy chairman of the Southern Transitional Council, called for the overthrow of the internationally-recognized government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and the takeover of the presidential palace.
Bin Brek said that Hadi’s administration was “a government of terrorism and corruption that is allied with the Islah terrorist party”. The Islah party is the Yemeni branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization which the UAE strongly opposes wherever it is active in the Middle East
The government accused the Southern Transitional Council of putting the lives of civilians at stake by using heavy weapons in Aden. It vowed to “protect the institutions of the state and the safety of civilians”.
The Southern Transitional Council earlier said that it had captured the government’s interior minister but he appeared in a video to deny this claim.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are part of a coalition which nominally backs the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi against Houthi rebels, but the UAE has pursued its own agenda in Yemen, backing separatist southern Yemeni organizations and militias outside the government’s control.
Neither Saudi Arabia nor the UAE have spoken about the ongoing clashes but the situation may put their alliance under strain.
The Yemeni government was forced to flee the Yemeni capital Sana’a in 2014, when the Iran-aligned Ansar Allah movement, commonly known as the Houthis, took over the capital and most of northern Yemen following a coup.