In a series of tweets, Bin Buraik described the government troops as “mercenaries” and said their dead would go to hell
STC deputy Hani Bin Buraik issues fatwa against government forces as Abyan fighting continues
The vice president of the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), Hani Bin Buraik, issued a fatwa (Islamic religious ruling) on Monday, rallying forces loyal to the pro-secession STC against the army of Yemen’s internationally recognized government.
Yemeni government forces have been locked in clashes with STC forces in areas around Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate, since May 12.
In a series of tweets, Bin Buraik described the government troops as “mercenaries” and said their dead would go to hell, adding that fallen STC fighters were considered “martyrs.”
Meanwhile, on the ground in Abyan, government forces opened a new front on the northern outskirts of Zinjibar, where the STC’s forces are limited. STC forces are heavily concentrated in the town of Sheikh Salem, on the eastern outskirts of Zinjibar.
In recent days, community and tribal figures sponsored an agreement between the warring parties to reopen a road that runs eastward from Zinjibar to the coastal town of Shaqra, military sources and local residents told Almasdar Online. The agreement states that the road, which has been closed since the fighting broke out around Zinjibar, would be open from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. through Wednesday, and then reopen again during the same hours from Saturday to Monday.
Bin Buraik’s fatwa and the uptick in fighting in Abyan follow the STC’s declaration of self-administration in Yemen’s southern governorates at the end of April. The move further imperiled the Saudi-sponsored Riyadh Agreement, which seeks to fuse the government and STC into one ruling body based in the interim capital Aden.
UAE media, quoting diplomatic sources, reported on Tuesday that STC President Aidarous Al-Zubaidi has been summoned to the Saudi capital of Riyadh from Abu Dhabi.
Editing by Ahlam Mohsen and Casey Coombs