The developments are part of a renewed push to implement the Riyadh agreement after two months without progress
Yemen’s government forces withdraw from Abyan as Saudis inspect STC camps in Aden
Army forces in Yemen’s internationally recognized government on Tuesday moved from Shaqra district in southern Abyan governorate to Ataq city, the capital of Shabwa governorate, according to a military official in Shabwa.
The official told Almasdar Online that army military vehicles in the 3rd and 7th Military Regions arrived in Ataq, while other units headed for Shabwa’s Al-Bayhan district and Marib governorate, in accordance with the military annex of the Saudi-brokered political deal known as the Riyadh Agreement.
The power-sharing deal seeks to incorporate the pro-secession Southern Transitional Council (STC) and its forces into the internationally recognized government in Yemen’s interim capital Aden. In August, STC-aligned forces seized control of Aden from government forces, giving rise to a new front in Yemen’s five year war. Under the Saudi-brokered deal, both sides agreed to withdraw military units to pre-August positions and hand over heavy and medium-sized weapons to designated military units.
As part of the deal, the 1st Presidential Protection Brigade is expected to arrive to Aden on Wednesday or Thursday to protect the Presidential Palace and provide security to officials in the power sharing government, the official added.
Meanwhile, in Aden, a Saudi military committee overseeing implementation of the Riyadh agreement on Tuesday inspected artillery and medium-sized weapons at military positions formerly held by the UAE-backed STC, according to a Yemeni military officer who works closely with the committee.
The Yemeni officer said the committee inspected the STC’s Security Belt Forces camp in Aden’s Buraiqa district, as well as the 39th Armored Brigade and the 3rd Presidential Protection Brigade in Khormaksar district, and took inventory of large and medium-sized weapons.
He added that the Saudi committee was preparing to transfer the heavy and medium-sized weapons to one of the three camps, which would be controlled by the Saudi-led coalition.
However, most of the heavy and medium-sized weapons that STC forces seized from the government are no longer in their camps, the Yemeni officer said, explaining that the equipment was sold through local intermediaries to people in Lahj and Al-Dhale governorates. He added that the weapons were received by groups loyal to the STC, although it was reported at the time that the weapons were sold to a range of groups including commanders in Hadi’s government as well as figures whose political affiliations were unknown.