Only passengers born in Aden were allowed to pass through the checkpoint, highlighting north-south tensions in the interim capital
Hundreds of travelers stranded in Abyan after being denied entry into Aden
A fleet of buses carrying hundreds of passengers to the southern port city of Aden have been held since Friday morning at the entrance of Abyan governorate’s capital Zinjibar.
Saddam Al-A’awar, one of the passengers on the bus, told Almasdar Online that the soldiers at Shaqra checkpoint boarded his bus and scanned identity cards, only granting entry to passengers who were born in Aden. Of the 35 passengers, six were from Aden, he said.
"We tried to negotiate with them, but they were aggressive and they spoke as if they were following orders to prevent entry of the northerners,” Al-A’awar said, adding that he had been waiting at the same checkpoint for over 10 hours.
It is unclear if the Security Belt Forces (SBF), the military wing of the pro-secession Southern Transitional Council (STC) who were carrying out the checks, were following a formal mandate or whether travelers were being screened at other ports of entry to Aden.
Travelers on the route fear being segregated based on their origins as the SBF denies entry to northerners.
Al-A’awar said most of the passengers on his bus were from Taiz governorate in southwest Yemen and were traveling through Aden to their villages near the Red Sea coast. The military vehicles at the checkpoint appeared to belong to the SBF’s 3rd Brigade, he said.
The STC media office has not responded to a request for comment.