The tit-for-tat clashes are related to disagreements over who will guard the presidential palace, STC officials in Aden
Ongoing clashes in Abyan, Shabwa stall implementation of Riyadh agreement
Government troops launched an offensive against forces loyal to the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC) on Thursday along the main road connecting northeast Abyan governorate with Shabwa governorate. By evening, the army claimed to have regained control of Al-Mahfad district in northeast Abyan, capturing STC field commander Ali Miftah Al-Shakli in the process.
The government attack came in response to an STC ambush Thursday morning, targeting a military convoy, led by Brig. Gen. Luai Al-Zamki, commander of the 3rd Presidential Protection brigade and Brig. Gen. Saif Al-Qufaish, commander of the 115th Brigade, en route to Abyan. Two government soldiers were injured in the ambush, according to Almasdar Online’s correspondent on the ground.
The tit-for-tat clashes are related to disagreements over implementation of the Riyadh agreement, which ended months of fighting between the pro-secession STC forces and the national army for control of southern governorates, including Abyan, Shabwa and the interim capital Aden.
As part of the power-sharing agreement, the army’s 1st Presidential Protection brigade is supposed to secure to the presidential palace in Aden, as well as protect members of the STC. But the STC has said it doesn’t trust the soldiers that the 1st Presidential Protection brigade recruited for that job and has prevented them from reaching Aden, via Abyan and Shabwa.
Shabwah Governor Mohammed Bin Adyo said in a meeting Friday that government forces were prepared to thwart any further attacks by UAE-backed STC forces. Adyo had convened the meeting of Shabwa’s security committee to discuss the results of an investigation into last week’s murder of Mujahid Baa’Odha, security director of nearby Al-Rawdha district in Shabwa.
Earlier in the week, Adyo submitted a letter to President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi complaining of provocations by UAE forces against government troops in Shabwah.