Hadi regime officials flee Yemen as UAE moves to take over Aden
SANA’A – Several senior government officials of the Saudi-backed regime of ousted ruler Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi have reportedly left Aden province on Sunday, taking refuge in Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Coinciding with the exodus of Hadi regime officials, the United Arab Emirates is reported to have significantly increased its military presence in the southern Yemeni port city.
The sudden emigration of Hadi loyalists and officials comes only days after Wednesday’s statement by the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), in which the separatist organisation officially called for an uprising against the Hadi regime.
“We assure our people in all the southern provinces that we support a popular uprising which would end the suffering, and we insist that it be peaceful,” the STC statement read. The call for rebellion against Hadi came despite the fact that the UAE is officially in alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Hadi regime.
According to observers in Aden, the departure of Hadi loyalists means that de facto the city’s institutions have been handed over to Emirati-backed militias, effectively fulfilling the STC’s demands of Wednesday.
Coinciding with the emigration, Sunday also witnessed the deployment of the Emirati military units to Aden International Airport. Local sources reported by Yemen Press Agency speak of at least eight main battle tanks moving on the airport.
The apparent takeover of Aden by the UAE and its allied separatist organisations comes as the latest in a long series of tensions and even clashes between the Hadi regime and South Yemeni separatists. Organisations such as the STC, while originally supporting the Saudi-backed coalition, have increasingly turned against the Saudi satellite regime and instead have focused on building their own separatist project.
The South Yemeni independence movement has seen a significant rise in activity since the start of the Saudi-led invasion of Yemen in March 2015. The movement aims to secede the south of Yemen and establish an independent nation along the borders preceding the 1990 Unification of Yemen. However, the United Arab Emirates’ support for the movement has also caused concern, as some believe that Abu Dhabi is merely strivin to establish its own satellite state in the area.