A Yemeni minister accused the United Arab Emirates of trying to fragment his country by creating separate “regional and tribal armies” in the south and called upon the government to take action.
Yemen has been engulfed in a civil war since 2015, with a Saudi-led coalition that includes the UAE fighting Shiite rebels known as Houthis to restore the internationally recognized government to power.
But the government, now based in the southern port city of Aden, is at odds with the UAE forces based there, their official allies against the Houthis.
The UAE has trained and financed Yemeni troops who only answer to the Emiratis and has also backed a newly formed pro-secessionist Southern Transitional Council. Supporters of the council battled in the streets of Aden last month, calling for the Yemeni government’s resignation.
Yemeni transportation minister Saleh al-Gabwani, said the UAE-backed troops cut off his convoy on Sunday while he was en route to inaugurate a new port in Balhaf, a town that hosts the largest natural gas plant in Yemen and a major terminal, now occupied by the UAE forces.
He said the so-called Shabwa Elite Force, one of several units that only answer to the UAE forces, told him that the Emiratis ordered that he be stopped from reaching the port.
“There are tribal and regional armies set up by the Emiratis,” al-Gabwani later told a gathering of local and government officials. “We as a state can’t accept continuation of this situation.”
Read full article by Ahmed Al-Haj from AP on The Washington Post, February 26, 2018