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[ADEN – 8 AUGUST 2019] Violent clashes broke out today between Hadi government forces and Southern resistance forces in Aden, following firing of live ammunition by government presidential guards on Southern protesters on 7 August. This was a continuation of violence since the 1 August 2019 a missile attack on a military parade of the Security Belt Forces in Aden that killed at least 36 people, including a senior commander, Brigadier General Abu Al-Yamamah and 36 others which itself came only hours after an explosion at Sheikh Othman Police Station which resulted the loss of 15 policeman. These attacks coincided with an attack on Al-Mahfad  base in Abyan which resulted in the killing of 19 soldiers.

Today’s escalation follows a coordinated attack by government forces and extremists elements against Southern units and civilians in Khormasker and Crater areas in Aden. This included deliberate targeting of civilian facilities causing further humanitarian suffering. In response to the escalation on the ground, the Southern Transitional Council was left with no choice but to mobilise Southern defence forces to ensure protection of the civilian population and restore a level of stability.

Our aim remains de-escalation of the violence, resume the rule of law, and secure the situation on the ground for all those in the South including the northern population. The STC takes seriously any reports of forced displacement or harassment of northerners, and neither the STC nor Southern forces are responsible for any such incidents. In line with our commitment to international law, we are investigating such reports and will hold perpetrators accountable.

One thing is clear from this week’s developments: Without a sustainable and credible solution for the Southern issue and Southern demands, peace and stability in the South will continue to elude us. The South is at the heart of Yemen’s political solution and the stability of the region.

We welcome the international community’s commitments to an inclusive political process and to restoring calm across Yemen; this necessitates a deliberate collective effort to solve the Southern issue, including Southerners’ right to self-determination, with credible Southern representation at the negotiating table. We have reiterated this to UN Envoy Martin Griffiths and stand ready to play our part in his efforts.


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