SANA’A – The internationally-recognized Yemeni Prime Minister Ahmad Abid bin Daghir and 13 ministers of his government are preparing to leave the presidential palace in the southern city of Aden and head westwards to a military base of the Saudi Arabia-led Arab coalition amid a separatist revolt, a government source told EFE on Tuesday.
This step comes after southern Yemeni separatists, who are backed by the United Arab Emirates, wrested control of much of the city from forces loyal to the Riyadh-exiled President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, whose government had moved its base to Aden when the Houthi rebel insurgency took over the capital Sana’a.
The Arab coalition will ensure the safe departure of Daghir and the members of his government, according to the source, who pointed out that they will be later transferred to Riyadh by a military plane.
Although there is a ceasefire agreement between the separatists and the government forces, according to sources from the Yemeni interior ministry, an armed faction of the separatists continued fighting and advancing in different parts of Aden.
Yemen’s Interior Minister Ahmed al-Maisiry met early Tuesday with the leader of the South Yemen separatists, Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, in response to repeated calls for a truce by the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, the Interior Ministry sources said.
Cracks in Hadi’s alliance with the South Yemen separatists became a full-blown rupture on Sunday, leading to street fighting between tanks and infantry in Aden that left dozens of fighters killed and wounded.
The Saudi-led coalition had pressed the two allies to halt their fighting for control of the provisional capital Aden, urging them to concentrate on the three-year war against the Houthi rebels, who control Yemen’s official capital city of Sana’a.
Earlier Tuesday, a suicide car bombing and gun attack killed at least 15 southern separatist fighters at a checkpoint in the oil-rich southern province of Shabwa, security officials told EFE.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, the officials claimed al-Qaeda was behind the attack on the south Yemen separatist checkpoint in Nokhan town near the city of Ataq, the capital of Shabwa.