A security checkpoint in Aden (South24 Center)

Aden: Security Successes and Normalization of Life


Tue, 25-04-2023 11:40 AM, Aden Time

Beaches, resorts, gardens, public markets and malls in Aden are crowded. All of this reflects the advanced security status. People are moving forward in their lives. The city is restoring its strength and urban status.

Raad Alrimi (South24) 

On the entrances and exits of the coastal city, some young soldiers wore military suits that carried the national flag of South Yemen. There was a security presence that was not expected a few years ago as the most important Southern city used to wake up on assassination and bombing operations on an almost daily basis.

It is 2023 in Aden, the official capital of Yemen for nearly 8 years and the headquarters of the Internationally-recognized government. The city, which hosts tens of thousands of refugees, is quickly recovering with a remarkable normalization of the security conditions despite the ongoing political and military turmoil.

A security checkpoint in Aden (South24 Center)

Between April of 2022 and 2023, Aden has witnessed a full year of calmness and peace with the lowest violence and crime levels in years. Over the last years, Aden has received more foreign delegations than other cities. This has denoted the security progress.

Security achievements 

Along with Aden's public security, several security forces are active in the city, foremost of which are the Security Belt Forces (SBF), the Presidential Storm Forces (PSF) and Counterterrorism Units. The establishment of a large part of these forces was supported by the Arab Coalition, especially the UAE.

Deputy Director General of Aden Police, Brigadier General Abubakr Jabr, spoke to “South24 Center” about the big security progress in the capital. He said: "There is integrated security coordination in Aden. All security units work regularly under the supervision of Governor Ahmed Lamlas who is the Head of the Security Committee. There is a joint operation room that manages the security operations.

He added: "Many terrorism activities carried out in Aden were revealed as well as their backers. We detected the threats of assassination operations. We investigated those who were arrested and detained for their involvement in these operations that aimed to depict Aden as an unsafe city".

Major General Ali Al-Awlaki, Head of the STC’s Supreme Security Committee, noted that the progress in security performance in Aden is due to the dauntless desire of the people of Aden and Southerners in general in securing a safe, peaceful and decent civil life.

A security checkpoint in Aden (South24 Center)

He told "South24 Center": "The security victories were achieved as people are craving for security and peace. Major security efforts have been done under the auspices of STC's political leadership. We work and we make plans and all security tracks in a way that preserves people's lives and maintains stability".

Brigadier General Jalal Al-Rubaie, the Commander of the Security Belt in Aden, explained the achievements of his forces in 2022. He told "South24 Center": "The SBF received 1003 prisoners in variant cases during 2022. Moreover, more than 200 suspicious or violating vehicles were seized over the same period".

He added: "The SBF carried out qualitative operations over the same period. This led to the arrest of more than 30 dangerous elements belonging to terrorist cells including those affiliated with the Houthi militias, espionage, monitoring, money laundering and arms smuggling”. 

"We implemented 44 security deployment campaigns to close the security loopholes in the surroundings of Aden as well as to tighten grip on weapon markets and prevent the random shooting. Furthermore, we implemented 264 security missions by the local authorities and other security bodies. This is in addition to 130 missions to secure conferences, seminars, events, trials and to protect important figures," he continued.

Speaking to "South24 Center", Commander of the PSF, Brigadier General Ousan Al-Anshali, enumerated the most important achievements in 2022. He said: "We carried out nearly (1450) missions during the last year, 400 of which specialized in escorting and securing officials, leaders, ambassadors and members of diplomatic missions".

A soldier from the Security Belt in Aden (This was obtained by South24 Center from the Security Belt’s media)

He added: "We arrested more than 300 defendants in various cases, including (30) accused of belonging to AQAP, ISIS, and the Houthis, and (57) accused of attempting to destabilize security, drug trafficking, theft cases, and others".

Over the same period, “the PSF carried out 511 security deployment missions and security campaigns as well as about 539 special missions. We seized more than 300 unlicensed vehicles and 250 motorcycles. Most of them were destroyed for violating laws" according to him.

Al-Anshali pointed out that the missions of the PSF focus on "protecting and securing Maashiq Presidential Palace and securing the moves of important figures, foremost of whom is the Southern Transitional Council (STC) President and Presidential Leadership Council (PLC) member Aidrous Al-Zubaidi and other PLC members”.

He added: "The PSF secure and escort ambassadors, diplomatic missions, and the UN Envoy. We also secure and protect governmental institutions, including immigration, passports, the Central Bank, the National Bank, the Prime Ministry building and the Supreme Judicial Council, as well as formal ceremonies".

 A soldier from the Security Belt in Aden (This was obtained by South24 Center from the Security Belt’s media)

Parallel to these security achievements, Southern security bodies make continuous modernization and development operations despite the scarcity of capabilities.

In this regard, Al-Rubaie said: "We rehabilitated 12 security buildings with a total cost of 118 million Yemeni riyals. We made tens of training courses that targeted 1700 officers and soldiers".

Al-Rubaie indicated that 87% of the SBF staff hold scientific degrees. He added: "We activated the system of central archiving, electronic management and linking the administrative levels”. 

As for the PSF, Al-Anshali pointed to 15 training courses in the past year, 7 of which in the field of personal protection and counterterrorism in addition to these related to the graduation of new batches and Thunderbolt forces”. 

He added: "We rehabilitated camps and fuel stations to supply the military vehicles. Additionally, we bought military suits for staff and built playgrounds for them".

Last December, Aden Security Director Major General Mutahar Al-Shoaibi inaugurated the new building to manage family protection and female police in Aden. The move came as part of several steps to increase the role of female elements in the security work in Aden, especially in the government facilities police. 

The graduation of a new batch of policewomen in the Facility Protection Brigade in Aden (official)

Normalization of life 

Clearly, the positive security impact in Aden on the life of people and various social aspects can be noted. Recently, Aden has experienced several activities as well as cultural and community events after being absent for years due to the war and its subsequent violence and security weakness.

In this regard, the Director of the Cultural Office in Aden, musician Ahmed Saleh bin Goudel, told "South24 Center": "One of the fruits of reinforcing security in Aden is the return of mass cultural activities. This would not have occurred three or four years ago but this happens today amid the security progress.

The final match of the Capital Cup between Wahdat Aden and Al-Tilal Football Club, February 25, 2023 (Najeeb Al Mahboubi)

He added: "Our cultural activities began to emerge. We made tours in schools and we saw talents in the fields of music, singing and fine art. The spread of security moved us from individual innovation to collective one. Everyone realizes that the return of cultural activity is only a reflection of the security stability".

Bin Goudel pointed to festivals witnessed by Aden recently such as the Winter of Aden Festival in addition to the formation of the first female music band in Aden. He believes that "this is an indication that the security efforts have gone beyond the stage of the war against terrorism and have moved forward towards securing society and providing protection for art and culture".

The First Edition of the Aden Nights Festival, April 22, 2023 (Ibrahim Ihab)

Commenting on this, Adani intellectual Jihad Haddad told "South24 Center": "Beaches, resorts, gardens, public markets and malls in Aden are crowded. All of this reflects the advanced security status. People are moving forward in their lives. The city is restoring its strength and urbanization".

Activist Nizar Al-Qaisi agrees about the improvement of security performance in Aden. However, he believes that Aden needs more effort to restore its status. He told "South24 Center": "Aden needs more to restore its identity as well as its social and cultural status. The law must be enforced and this city has to be prepared to be the basic building block of the state's project."

The recovery impact in Aden has been extended to other community fields such as sports. Aden had recently witnessed several football tournaments which have been a reminder of the golden age of the city. The stands of the historic Hubayshi Stadium were filled with crowds.

Additionally, road and roundabout rehabilitation work has been revived in many districts. Traders and entrepreneurs have opened large projects in the city, such as shopping malls, restaurants and green resorts on the outskirts of Aden.

A rehabilitation project in one of Aden's streets (Ahmed Shihab)

Scarce capabilities 

Brigadier General Abubakr Jabr said that security bodies and forces in Aden have been largely neglected by the Interior Ministry and the Yemeni government. He said: "Aden’s Security Department has not received its rights and suffers from a severe shortage of capabilities. We met with Interior Minister Major General Ibrahim Haidan but nothing has changed".

Major General Al-Awlaki stressed the failure of the Interior Ministry towards the security forces in Aden. He said: “The Interior Ministry has largely failed to do its duties or provide any support. The security bodies have not even received one communication device from the Ministry of Interior or even one qualification course”.