SANA’A – Nine fighters were killed on Monday as forces loyal to Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and their former allies among regional separatist militias clashed for a second consecutive day on the streets of the southern port city of Aden, with at least nine fighters killed, security sources told EFE.
Aden is the provisional capital of the administration led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, currently in Saudi Arabia.
The sides exchanged tank fire near a separatist bastion on Hadid mountain, near central Aden’s Khormaksar neighborhood, where the clashes began, security sources said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Four government soldiers were killed Monday, along with five members of the separatist militias led by the former governor of Aden, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi.
Cracks in Hadi’s alliance with the United Arab Emirates-backed South Yemen separatists became a full-blown rupture on Sunday, when a deadline set by Al-Zoubaidi for the government to implement reforms expired without action.
Hadi forces and southern separatists have fought on the same side for three years against the northern-based Houthi rebels, who control the capital, Sana’a.
The Saudi-led Arab military coalition on Monday called for calm between the Hadi forces and the separatists, urging them to concentrate on fighting the Houthis, who Saudi Arabia claims receive support from Iran.
There is an active movement demanding a return to independence for southern Yemen, annexed by the north in 1990.