South Yemen: Withdrawal of Saudi Forces from Shabwa


Tue, 26-10-2021 07:41 PM, Aden

Shabwa (South24) 

senior political source told "South24" that the Saudi forces operating in the Arab Coalition left Shabwa Governorate, South Yemen, in light of the escalation of clashes with the Houthis, and accusing the local authorities of "colluding" with them.

Saudi forces were present at Ataq Airport and other areas in the oil-rich province. The Saudi forces in Ataq did not participate in the fight against the Houthis.

The source said that three Saudi officers remained, and they are likely to leave Shabwa, tonight.

Informed sources told "South24" that UAE forces, who were present in "Al-Alam" camp, in Jardan district, Shabwa Governorate, left at dawn today, Tuesday, towards Saudi Arabia, and handed it over to the Shabwani Elite forces.

The sources indicated that the UAE forces headed to "Al-Wadeah" border crossing with Saudi Arabia, in Hadramout Governorate, after they withdrew from the camp located in Jardan district, 45 kilometers away from the capital of Shabwa, Ataq.

Soon after the UAE forces left, pro-Islah forces in Shabwa surrounded the camp, and demanded the Shabwani Elite forces to hand it over, then bombed the camp after the latter refused to surrender, according to ground sources.

However, other sources indicated to "South24" that the UAE forces have repositioned themselves in the governorate, following intel about imminent attacks.

The sources also indicated that tribes mobilized to support the besieged Shabwani Elite forces, with the arrival of armed members from the Northern governorates of Marib and Al-Jawf to reinforce the pro-Islah forces.

So far, the pro-Islah forces are still surrounding Al-Alam camp, while the Shabwani Elite forces refuse to leave and hand over the camp, according to the same sources.

It is worth noting a meeting that included the leader of the Islah Party and the governor of Shabwa, Mohammad bin Adyo, led by the Saudi forces in the governorate, took place last September, after military tensions witnessed in the strategic "Balhaf" oil facility, in which UAE forces and the Shabwani Elite Forces are present.

The reasons for this withdrawal are not yet clear, but observers indicated that the increasing accusations towards the local authority of complicity with the Houthis in handing over the Beihan districts, reinforced the mistrust between them and the Saudi forces.

A group of senior officers in the Yemeni army accused the Islah party and its forces of "conspiring" with the Houthis to hand over the province to the group, to threaten the security of South Yemen and the region. (1)

Observers fear that this withdrawal will have repercussions on the future of the province, or that it will encourage the Houthis to advance into the depth of the province.

Furthermore, on Sunday, pro-Islah forces stormed a peaceful protest gathering in the Radhum district which was calling for "confronting the Houthis", and fired live bullets at the participants. (2)

South24 Center for News and Studies

Photo: Getty Images

South YemenUAEIslahHouthiConflictShabwa