Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 12 November 2019

Yemen security forces deny expelling citizens from Aden

The Security Belt forces said they totally reject any claims that they have taken part in any 'racially-motivated behaviour'

Soldiers rush to help the injured following a missile attack on a military parade during a graduation ceremony for newly recruited troopers in Aden, Yemen, on Thursday. Reuters
Soldiers rush to help the injured following a missile attack on a military parade during a graduation ceremony for newly recruited troopers in Aden, Yemen, on Thursday. Reuters

Yemeni security forces have denied accusations that they are forcibly expelling citizens who are from the northern provinces out of the southern port city of Aden and nearby Lahj province.

Dhaifallah Al Shami, the Houthi rebel's Minister of Information, accused what he called the “occupation forces and mercenaries in Aden" of oppressing and deporting people "with a racial and regional motive,” the Houthi owned Al-Masirah news agency reported on Sunday.

In a statement also issued on Sunday, the Security Belt forces in Aden said that they totally reject any claims that they have taken part in any “racially-motivated behaviour”.

“Protecting the people is our ultimate responsibility and we will not allow any aggressive actions against the civilians in Aden and the neighbouring areas,” it said.

Yemen's south is predominantly inhabited by people from the Shafi'i sect, with some blaming the sects found in the north for the civil war.

Col Jalal Al Raby’ee, commander of the Security Belt Forces in Lahj province, told The National that his forces have been protecting civilians in the liberated provinces for more than three years, and that the allegations were only circulated by news outlets affiliated with the Houthi rebels and the Islah party.

He said the accusations are “lies” and “fake news” intended to discredit the forces.

“Our forces have sacrificed hundreds of soldiers to protect civilians without paying any attention to their race. Our duty is to keep the residents secure and stabilise the liberated areas in co-operation with the Arab Coalition forces,” he said.

The Arab Coallition comprises of nine Middle Eastern nations led by Saudi Arabia who intervened in the war in Yemen in 2015 to help restore the legitimate government.

The accusations of expulsions came amid rising tension in Aden, with tribes from Yafea and other Southern areas marching on the city since Monday morning.

Protests began on Monday that were expected to last until Tuesday to condemn recent terrorist attacks that targeted a military base and police centre in Aden, killing more than 50 people.

“We are here to convey a message to the Arab Coalition and to the international community to respond to the Houthi's aggressive actions,” protester Bassam Mohmmed said.

Updated: August 5, 2019 07:59 PM

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