UAE-backed mercenary leader Tariq Afash kicks South Yemeni forces from Mocha
SANA’A – In yet another bout of infighting between mercenaries serving the Saudi-led invaders, the city of Mocha has changed hands after UAE-backed mercenary leader Tariq Afash kicked out South Yemeni separatist forces.
According to Yemen Press Agency, the UAE earlier issued an official decision to hand over the western port city of Mocha to Afash and his forces, despite the fact that the city was already occupied by UAE-backed South Yemeni separatist militias called Amaliqa, or Giants’ Brigades. The Amaliqa militias are nearly exclusively composed out of mercenaries from southern Yemen, but are known to be fiercely loyal to the Saleh family.
Tariq Afash, nephew of the former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh who was killed in battle after betraying Yemen in December 2017, leads his own personal mercenary gang that is funded by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as his own fraction of the former General People’s Congress (GPC) party. Prior to the 2011 Yemeni Revolution, he was the commander of the Republican Guard for his uncle.
Upon hearing of the news, Tariq Afash reportedly moved into Mocha and immediately expelled the Amaliqa Brigades from the city at large. Moreover, he commanded the southerners to stay out of the affairs of the West Coast battle entirely.
The commanders of the Amaliqa Brigades have reportedly voiced out their anger at this treatment, considering it a grave humiliation that comes as the latest in a long series of tensions between Tariq Afash’ personal miltias and South Yemeni movements.
Afash himself reportedly justified his actions by stating that Mocha is not part of southern Yemen but belongs to the north of the country, as well as calling Amaliqa “unqualified” and “treacherous”. This explanation is unlikely to be accepted by many in the South, however, as the Afash mercenaries themselves maintain a strong military presence deep in southern Yemen as well, even controlling some of the illegal prison and torture camps the UAE has set up in Aden.