Security Belt soldiers wounded in Aden blast

By Nabil Abdullah al-Tamimi in Aden


Fighters of the UAE-trained Security Belt Forces patrol a street in an area near the Aden International airport on August 28th. [Nabil Hasan/AFP]

Three members of the UAE-backed Security Belt Forces were wounded in Aden on Tuesday morning (October 22nd) when an improvised explosive device (IED) detonated near their military vehicle, local media reported.

The Security Belt Forces report to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), which on August 10th seized control of Aden from the Yemeni government.

Saudi Arabia, which has intervened in Yemen's war on behalf of the Yemeni government, has since early September hosted indirect talks between the government and the separatists in Jeddah.

The Tuesday blast occurred in Aden's Sheikh Othman district, when an IED that had been placed inside an old car a few metres away from Abdul Qawi roundabout exploded as a Security Belt Forces military vehicle stopped next to it.

The vehicle was damaged in the blast, and the three wounded soldiers were taken to the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Aden.

"The explosion caused fear among the area's residents," Sheikh Othman resident Mona Fadhl told Al-Mashareq. "As soon as the situation calms down in Aden, it flares up again."

"We were expecting armed clashes following the blast, as al-Qaeda usually does in the operations that target soldiers," she added.

Instability benefits extremists

Failure to fully control Aden and disputes between the Yemeni government and the STC make the port city, its residents and security forces into an easy target for extremist groups, political analyst Faisal Ahmed told Al-Mashareq.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) have exploited this instability to expand their presence in the city and stage attacks on various targets, he said.

"UN special envoy to Yemen Martin Griffiths and the Security Council had warned that instability in Aden would benefit the terrorist groups," he said.

"We have seen this recently following the STC coup against the internationally recognised legitimate government."

Ahmed urged representatives of the STC and the Yemeni government who are meeting in Jeddah to take the interests of the Yemeni people and the security of Aden and neighbouring provinces into consideration.

He called on them to reach an agreement that would guarantee security, stability and citizens’ interests in line with the UN Security Council resolutions on Yemen and that would preserve the country's territorial integrity.

Yemeni government sources meanwhile said an anticipated agreement between the two sides that was expected to be signed in Jeddah had not been endorsed.

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