Pro-Hadi forces arresting, expelling people from Aden

Forces loyal to Yemen’s former President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi have been arresting and evicting hundreds of civilians from the southern port city of Aden to the north, local officials say.

They said secessionists were raiding shops, restaurants and homes, detaining more than 2,000 people whom they said posed a security threat.

Aden fell to pro-Hadi forces who were backed by Saudi air cover after fierce fighting with Houthi fighters in July 2015.

Also Sunday, the Houthi movement accused Saudi Arabia of launching airstrikes that killed seven people, shaking a truce that has largely held through more than two weeks of UN-backed peace talks.

“The aggressor’s planes bombed various districts in the Nehm district, leading to the death of seven martyrs and wounding three,” the Houthis said in a statement.

On Saturday, Hadi’s representatives pulled out of direct peace negotiations held in Kuwait with Houthis after “substantive issues” were discussed in three joint working groups formed under UN auspices.

The UN special envoy to Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed held then separate talks with the warring parties in a bid to break the impasse.

Each side accuses the other of not respecting the truce which has been constantly broken since it came into force on April 11.

In a statement on the sabanews website, a Houthi delegate said the three joint teams will resume work “after an agreement on the form of the state and the transitional authority.”

Without such an agreement, the talks were “a waste of time” said the delegate, adding that Hadi’s side was “an adversary and it is unacceptable that he embodies the state.”

The Houthis and their allies have demanded the formation of a consensus transitional government before forging ahead with other issues.

They have also demanded the withdrawal of a US force operating in the south of the country along with UAE troops.

There has been mounting international pressure to end the Yemen conflict that has killed more than 9,400 people and displaced 2.8 million since March last year.

On Friday, the US military for the first time publicly acknowledged that American troops are operating inside Yemen to help pro-Hadi forces and a Saudi offensive.

Defense Department spokesman Navy captain Jeff Davis said that a “very small number” of military personnel has in recent weeks been working with “Arab Coalition” forces.

The Pentagon has stepped up airstrikes against al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) militants in Yemen, Davis further said.

The US is also offering an array of assistance to Saudi Arabia and its allies in their attacks in Yemen, including air-to-air refueling capabilities, surveillance, planning, maritime security and medical help.

The US Navy also has several ships nearby, including an amphibious assault ship called the USS Boxer and two destroyers.


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