As UAE-paid salaries dry up and the Yemeni government refuses to pay secessionist forces, the Security Belt is in limbo
After months of unpaid salaries, Security Belt forces impose trucking tax outside Aden
UAE-backed Security Belt forces have started to impose taxes and fees on commercial trucks heading to and from the interim capital Aden in southern Yemen after months of nonpayment of salaries by the internationally recognized government and the UAE, a local resident and security source in the Interior Ministry told Almasdar Online.
The new financial charges amount to 20,000 Yemeni riyals (about $32) for each transportation truck coming from Aden, and 15,000 riyals (about $24) for trucks entering the coastal city, the sources said, noting that the Security Belt resorted to this step due to financial constraints from the delayed payment of salaries to their units deployed in Aden, Lahj, Al-Dhale and Abyan governorates.
The Security Belt forces are loyal to the Southern Transitional Council (STC), a pro-secession group that ejected government troops from Aden in August and seized control of important towns and cities in neighboring governorates in the weeks that followed. Saudi Arabia intervened in the fighting and negotiated a power sharing deal known as the Riyadh agreement, which seeks to incorporate the STC and its forces into the government.
In the meantime, the government has refused to pay the salaries of Security Belt forces that are not under its direct control. The Security Belt received monthly salaries from the UAE up until recently, as the Emiratis handed off control of Aden to Saudi troops as part of a larger military drawdown in Yemen.
The Riyadh agreement, which was signed in November, has made limited progress in uniting Yemen’s Saudi-backed army and UAE-backed groups like the Security Belt, which together form a significant portion of the anti-Houthi military alliance.