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Yemen President Hadi accuses UAE of 'injustice, aggression' with Aden airstrikes

Aden has become a battleground for rival Yemeni forces [Getty]

Date of publication: 29 August, 2019

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Yemen's president said the UAE was behind airstrikes in the south of the country.

Yemen's President Abdrabbo Mansour Hadi has accused the UAE of launching airstrikes in the south of the country which have killed at a number of pro-government troops.

It comes after local media reported UAE airstrikes on pro-government forces in the south on Thursday, following clashes with separatists over the coastal city of Aden.

"They have committed themselves to injustice, aggression and using armed forces against the Yemeni people in the southern governorates, using the UAE's military arsenal in order to divide our country," Hadi said.

He urged the UAE's key ally Saudi Arabia "to intervene to stop this blatant intrusion by these militias and their aerial bombardment of our armed forces".

Although Saudi Arabia and the UAE are officially partners in the Yemen war against the Houthis, Abu Dhabi has been accused of backing southern separatists against the government.

It follows accusations from other Yemeni government officials that the UAE were behind attacks on soldiers and civilians.

"The Yemeni government condemns the Emirati air strikes against government forces in the interim capital Aden and in Zinjibar, which resulted in civilian and military casualties," Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammad al-Hadhrami said in a tweet.

He also urged Riyadh "to stand by the legitimate government and stop this illegal and unjustified military escalation".

Yemen's Information Minister Muammar al-Iryani also claimed that UAE strikes had killed 40 combatants and wounded 70 civilians. 

UAE-backed southern separatists captured Aden earlier this month, with pro-government forces reclaiming the southern city on Wednesday after clashes that left 40 people dead.

After pro-government forces moved into the city, residents reported air strikes, which have been blamed on the UAE with the Abu Dhabi-linked militias regaining control of Aden.

On Thursday, the separatists' Southern Transitional Council (STC) spokesperson told AFP that the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces were again in control of Aden.

A government source confirmed to the agency that the separatists had fully regained Aden.

STC spokesman Haitham Nezar said that the separatists would now move to Abyan and Shabwa, which had been retaken by government troops earlier this week.

"Our plan is to kick out the invading forces from the south," said Nezar, referring to government troops.

The fighting has not only seen Yemen on the brink of breaking apart but also threatened to drive a wedge between Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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