Yemeni separatists declare self-governance; crisis deepens - GulfToday

Yemeni separatists declare self-governance; crisis deepens


A reinforcement convoy of Yemen's Security Belt Force seeks independence for southern Yemen. AFP

Yemeni separatists early on Sunday declared self-rule of the country's south as a peace deal with the government crumbled, complicating a long and separate conflict with Houthi rebels who control much of the north.

The Southern Transitional Council (STC) accused the government of failing to perform its duties and of "conspiring" against the southern cause, and said self-governance had begun at midnight.


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The government condemned the move and said the separatists — who have long agitated for independence in the south — would be responsible for the "catastrophic and dangerous" outcome.

The breakdown between the one-time allies comes as a Saudi-led coalition, which backs the internationally recognised government in a battle against Houthi rebels, has extended a unilateral ceasefire aimed at fending off the coronavirus pandemic — a move rejected by the Houthis.

Aidarous Al Zoubeidi, head of Yemen's Southern Transitional Council, speaks during an interview in Aden. File/AFP

Yemen's separatists signed a power-sharing deal in Riyadh last November that quelled a battle — dubbed a "civil war within a civil war" — for the south that had in August seen them seize control of the second city of Aden.

The STC announced in its statement that it was declaring "self-governance in the south starting midnight on Saturday April 25th, 2020.

"A self governing committee will start its work according to a list of tasks assigned by the council's presidency," it said.

Aden residents reported heavy deployments of STC forces in the city and a separatist source told AFP they had set up checkpoints "at all government facilities, including the central bank and port of Aden".

Military vehicles drove through the city with STC flags flying aloft.

The political landscape in the south is complex, and despite the STC's declaration some southern cities said they did not recognise the call to self-rule and would remain aligned with the central government.

Agence Francee-Presse

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