Authorities in five southern provinces in Yemen have rejected a separatist group’s claim to self-rule, further heightening tensions among ostensible allies in the Saudi-led coalition battling Houthi rebels elsewhere in the country.
The separatists’ Southern Transitional Council (STC), which is backed by the United Arab Emirates, scrapped a peace deal with the Saudi-backed government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and declared a state of emergency overnight.
The separatists said they would “self-govern” the key southern port city of Aden and other southern provinces, accusing the government of corruption and mismanagement.
The STC seeks the return of the independent state that existed in the south until 1990.
Yemen’s internationally recognised government rejected the STC’s self-governance, and described the move as a continuation of the armed rebellion that started last August.
The government said local and security authorities in the provinces of Hadramout, Abyan, Shabwa, al-Mahra and the remote island of Socotra dismissed the move as a “clear and definite coup”.
The authority to declare an emergency lies with the president only, and militias cannot replace state institutions, Shabwa security forces said in a written statement.
The administration of Hadramout, the biggest province in the south, said the STC’s announcement is “a violation of legitimacy and the Riyadh Agreement”, referring to a 2019 power-sharing deal between the separatists and the Yemeni government.
Abyan and Socotra administrations called for loyalty to the president, while the local authorities of al-Mahra province said the STC’s step aimed to deepen the crisis already existing in the country.
The STC did not immediately comment on the statements from the five provinces.
Source: Al Jazeera