Yemen forces secure strategic port in Aden

Yemen’s internationally recognised government has declared a nighttime curfew, starting Monday, in the key southern port city of Aden in a bid to push back against recent incursions by Al Qaida and other Islamist militant groups, the city’s governor said.

According to the Aden governor, Aidarous Al Zubaidi, the curfew will be in place every night from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. for an unspecified period.

The measure came after government forces retook Aden’s strategic port after heavy clashes with militants who had seized it earlier over the weekend. Al Qaida and other militants have been using the port for lucrative smuggling operations.

Yemen’s Al Qaida branch has long been seen by Washington as the most potent affiliate of the extremist network and has been linked to a number of attempted attacks on the US. The group, known as the Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, has captured much of Yemen’s sprawling Hadramout province and its capital, Al Mukalla, as well as the capital of southern Abyan province, Zinjibar and the town of Jaar.

Al Qaida and Daesh-linked militants have exploited the chaos of the country’s civil war to expand its footprint in southern Yemen.

According to UN figures, the war in Yemen has killed at least 5,884 people since March, when fighting escalated after the Saudi-led coalition began launching air strikes targeting Al Houthi militants.

The conflict pits the internationally recognised government, backed by a Saudi-led coalition against Iran-backed Al Houthi militants, allied with a ousted Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The two sides launched peace negotiations in December in Switzerland, and a truce was declared on the ground, which never really took hold. The Arab coalition says Al Houthis have repeated violated the truce by launching rockets into Saudi territory. That truce formally ended over the weekend.

Gulf News