Armed Yemeni tribesmen from the Popular Resistance Committees, supporting forces loyal to Yemen's Saudi-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, stand next to an armoured vehicle in the area of Sirwah west of Marib city, on November 8, 2015.
Aden: A 400-strong Sudanese force arrived in Yemen’s port city Aden on Monday in support of pro-government forces preparing to confront a possible new offensive by the Al Houthi militia on the country’s south.
Yemen’s loyalist forces, backed by Saudi-led coalition strikes, supplies and troops, pushed the rebels out of Aden as part of an operation launched in July to take back southern territories lost to renegade forces.
Four other southern provinces — Lahj, Daleh, Abyan and Shabwa — were also retaken by the forces loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi.
“More than 400 Sudanese soldiers landed in Aden” as part of the coalition battling the rebels since March, said a commander of Yemeni forces loyal to Hadi.
These will join 500 Sudanese soldiers who arrived in Aden on October 19, part of whom were deployed in the main southern city and the strategic Al Anad airbase in adjacent Lahj province, the source said.
Their arrival comes amid a mobilisation of loyalist forces to block a possible attempt by the rebels to re-enter Aden.
“General mobilisation was been declared in Daleh,” where the Al Houthis recaptured the province’s second-city, Damt, on Saturday, a local official said.
A similar call was made in the coastal city of Dhubab, near the Bab Al Mandab strait, where the rebels achieved a “limited advance” during the weekend, a military source said.
The militia seized a military base in Dhubab on Saturday following deadly clashes with pro-government troops, according to military sources.
Officials in the Southern Movement and analysts based in Aden speaking to Gulf News on Sunday however denied press reports Al Houthis had regained several positions they lost in recent months across the country’s south.
“I can confirm that the southern areas that were liberated by the Yemeni resistance in collaboration with the Arab alliance are still under the full control of the national Yemeni resistance,” said Fouad Rashid, secretary of the Southern Movement.
Pro-government troops seized Dhubab early last month, giving them effective control of Bab Al Mandab, through which much of the world’s maritime traffic passes.
Meanwhile, at least 16 Yemeni government soldiers were reported to have been killed by a roadside bomb in the province of Marib east of the capital Sana’a, military sources said late on Sunday.
The sources said the bomb, which also wounded six soldiers, appeared aimed at a patrol near an army camp in Marib. They said it was not clear who was behind the attack.
The Al Houthi militia overran the Yemeni capital Sana’a last year and then advanced south to Aden, forcing Hadi and his government to flee to Saudi Arabia.
Ministers from Hadi’s government returned to Aden in mid-September after six months in exile in the neighbouring Saudi Arabia.
The United Nations says that around 5,000 people have been killed in Yemen’s conflict since it escalated in March.
— with inputs from AFP and Reuters