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How can anarchy in Yemen's Aden be stopped? Open in fullscreen

A Yemeni journalist

How can anarchy in Yemen's Aden be stopped?

Aden has been wrecked with instability for the past three years [Getty]

Date of publication: 3 April, 2018

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In-depth: The situation in Aden is deteriorating as it plunges into anarchy after being stuck between the Yemeni government and southern secessionists for the past three years.
Two gunmen assaulted the Arts College in Aden last week opening fire on soldiers at the college's gate. The attackers escaped unscathed, according to the statement of Aden security office.

Astonishingly, the two extremist militants were escorted by an accomplice photographer to document the attack. As the photographer was shooting the scene, one of the wounded soldiers noticed him. The latter aimed his rifle at the photographer, hitting him in the chest.

Today, terrorists in Aden do not only kill and flee. However, they commit a crime and intentionally assign other criminals to record a video footage of their brutal acts. Their purpose is to brag about their callousness and instill panic among the public.

The terror operatives repeatedly claim responsibility for attacks on civilians or military headquarters in Aden, proving their claim with photos and videos shot at the scene of the crime. This situation points to the grave chaos and worrying insecurity this vital city has been undergoing.

Aden seems to have forsaken the genuine peace amid the presence of terrorist suspects who continue to pose a serious concern for civilians, the military and security units.

Late February of this year, two booby-trapped cars targeted an anti-terror security building in Aden city, killing at least 14 people and wounding over 40 including civilians.

These recent deadly attacks are not a precedent. For over two years, news stories on car bombs, terrorist operations, assassinations, robberies and armed clashes have been rising from Aden.

This city appears to have been betrayed by the legitimate government, the Arab coalition and the southern separatists. Today, civilians in Aden do not know when Aden will be tranquil, peaceful and safe again.

This city appears to have been betrayed by the legitimate government, the Arab coalition and the southern separatists. Today, civilians in Aden do not know when Aden will be tranquil, peaceful and safe again

The ruinous rivalry

Aden has been plagued with instability for three years. In 2015, the war between the Saudi-backed government forces and the Houthis left huge destruction. The four-month fighting came to an end, and Aden was cleared of the Houthis in July of 2015. At that time, the government forces and separatists took over the city.

As time passed, the government and the separatists plunged into a fierce rivalry over the control of the city, leading to prevalent chaos across Aden.

The lack of coordination and disparity of programmes have deepened the conflict between the Saudi-backed government and the UAE-allied separatists. Their rivalry has been destructive, and it has largely affected the entire population in the city.

Prime minister Ahmed bin Daghr left for Saudi Arabia last month, joining the internationally president Abed Rabbu Mansour Hadi who has been in exile in Riyadh since March 2015. This came on the heels of the armed bloody confrontations in January between the pro-government military units and separatist forces.

Today, the confusion is rife in the city. The UAE-backed separatists intensify their efforts to gain full control of the south, including Aden, while the government continues struggling to maintain its fragile authority. Moreover, terrorist groups carry on their schemes to strike the government, the separatists and civilians alike.  

Aden is the victim of two parties: the government and the secessionists. They have been unable to come to terms, and this has offered a golden opportunity for the terrorist militants to maintain their activities and inflict further horror on the civilians in the city.

Moreover, the Saudi-led Arab coalition is involved in creating this appalling situation in Aden. Aden was the first Yemeni city to receive ground forces of the Arab coalition in 2015.

It was thought the coalition forces would liberate the city from the Iran-allied Houthis, establish solid security and then restore the state institutions. The coalition purged the city of the Houthis, but it has failed to address the political and security issues. Failing politics and lax security have triggered several serious issues.

Aden is the victim of two parties: the government and the secessionists

'Aden is approaching death'

Aden's residents have been bearing the brunt of the ruinous political feuds. The majority of civilians are concerned about services such as electricity, water and health. Though the conflicting parties in Aden say they are keen to improve the living situation in the city, civilians have not seen the unshakable peace and uninterrupted basic services.

Aden's residents have been bearing the brunt of the ruinous political feuds

Fathi Bin Lazrq, an Aden-based journalist, has said the city is drowning in chaos.

"Actually, Aden has reached a bad level. Aden is approaching death. As the summer is nearing and the power outages are coming in line with the state absence, the chaos will reach a dangerous state," Bin Lazrq said.

Bin Lazrq criticised the separatists, saying their escalation against the government has hurt the city.

Bin Lazrq wrote, "The Southern Transitional Council (a leading separatist body) promised months ago to run the Aden and all southern areas. We have been waiting since then. Unfortunately, nothing positive has happened. What has happened is disturbing the life in the city and paralysing the performance of the government. This has hurt the interests of the public."

As a resident of this city, he, like numerous residents, has one demand: Either the southern council and UAE rule the city and run its affairs or they have to give the government the opportunity to do so.

The continuous schism between the UAE-allied forces and the government forces jeopardises the present and the future of  the city and emboldens the terror operatives who have been cruel enough to kill civilians or soldiers and simultaneously videotape their atrocities.

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