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article imageOp-Ed: STC fights government forces in Yemen city of Zinjibar

By Ken Hanly     May 12, 2020 in Politics
On April 25th the separatist Southern Transitional Council had declared self-rule in parts of south Yemen in which supported by the UAE they had control. On Monday the first fighting broke out in the city of Zinjibar the capital of Abyan Province.
The conflict
The fighting was between the Saudi-backed government forces and those of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The battles started in the outskirts of Zinjibar and then spread rapidly.
Medical sources told the AFP that two government soldiers were killed and 13 wounded, while the STC separatists suffered two dead and 11 wounded. Another report claimed that at least 10 people were killed with both sides claiming victory. However, AFP journalists on the scene saw government armored vehicles near the city on fire with STC forces celebrating what they claimed was their victory.
Zinjibar has often changed hands
Zinjibar is about 50 kilometers or 30 miles from the southern capital of Aden. During the Arab Spring it was taken over by Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and then taken by the STC after a flareup between it and the Saudi supported Hadi government.
The split between the Hadi government and the STC
Last August with the support of the UAE, the STC seized control of Aden and surrounding areas leaving little of Yemen controlled by the UN-backed government of Mansur Hadi that was supported by Saudi Arabia. Both the UAE and the Saudis were allies in an attempt to oust the Houthi rebels, supported by Iran, who control much of north Yemen including the capital Sanaa since 2014. In late fall, the STC worked out a power-sharing agreement which would give the STC a considerable presence in the Hadi government. However, the Hadi government resisted the deal. With the announcement by the STC back in late April of self-rule in the areas they control any earlier deal is now dead.
The STC has always pressed for a separate South Yemen as existed previously whereas the Hadi government supported by the Saudis have always wanted one unified state. The Saudis may in time decide to opt for a peace deal that will see the Houthis rule a northern Yemen and an STC dominated separate state in the south. Hadi may be forced to settle for some share in this southern government or face being sidelined with little power.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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