Aden attackers target Security Belt Forces

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Pro-government forces man a checkpoint near the Maashiq Palace presidential headquarters in the port city of Aden on August 17th. [Nabil Hasan/AFP]

Two separate attacks carried out by unknown assailants on Sunday and Monday (August 26th) targeted members of the Security Belt Forces in Aden's Sheikh Othman district, local media reported.

In the first incident, gunmen riding a motorcycle shot a member of the Security Belt Forces and fled the scene. Bystanders rushed in to try and transfer the soldier to the nearest hospital, but he died at the scene.

In the second, an improvised explosive device (IED) that had been planted in a car parked near two Security Belt Forces vehicles in Sheikh Othman exploded.

Several members of a family were injured -- one woman had her legs blown off -- when the IED exploded as the bus they were in passed through the main street leading to the May 22nd Stadium, according to local media reports.

They remain in critical condition.

Yemeni officials and observers have warned that extremist groups would try to exploit the situation in Aden since Southern Transitional Council forces wrested control of the city from Yemeni government forces on August 11th.

Deputy Minister of Information Naguib Ghallab last week warned that the change in the security situation in Aden could give rise to internal disputes among the various forces, which would in turn allow extremist groups to gain a foothold.

'Fragmentation of security'

Journalist Faisal Ahmed on Monday told Al-Mashareq that disputes among security and military agencies lead to weakness and confusion, and hence to the failure of these agencies to adequately attend to their security missions.

“The coup which the Southern Transitional Forces staged against President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi’s army and security forces in Aden has led to internal conflicts among those forces," he said.

This gives extremist groups with a presence in the area "a chance to carry out operations against security and stability”, he added.

“For a long time, Aden has not witnessed two terror attacks on one day,” he said. “This is a dangerous indicator of security, as the rival forces have raised the level of alert against each other and neglected the terrorist groups, especially al-Qaeda and the 'Islamic State of Iraq and Syria' (ISIS).”

He noted that anonymous al-Qaeda hitmen had assassinated Yemeni soldiers in the same way in the past, but said this has not happened for some time.

Meanwhile, UN envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths warned in a Thursday UN Security Council meeting that chaos and fragmentation of security could allow the re-emergence of extremist groups.

He noted that in July alone, both al-Qaeda and ISIS had launched attacks in Aden, Abyan and al-Bayda.

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