Fighting erupts in Yemen's Aden, several people killed

Source: Xinhua| 2018-01-28 17:32:49|Editor: Jiaxin
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ADEN, Yemen, Jan. 28 (Xinhua) -- Intense armed confrontations broke out on Sunday between forces loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and forces allied with the Southern Transitional Council in the port city of Aden, residents and officials told Xinhua.

The fighting erupted after strict decisions issued by the government to ban peaceful demonstrations organized by the STC in Aden province.

A resident in Aden said that forces of the Presidential Guard unit deployed in Aden and opened fire against the anti-government protesters, injuring more than 15 people.

In response, the armed forces of the STC deployed on the streets and tried to protect the protesters, sparking fierce armed confrontations with government soldiers in Aden's district of KhorMaksar.

Witnesses near the scene confirmed to Xinhua that the "army bases of the government were seized by the STC soldiers following hours of clashes."

Explosions and heavy gunfire could be heard ranging out across Aden's main streets, according to a Xinhua reporter in the city.

Apaches of the Saudi-led coalition hovered over Aden's airspace but no strikes were launched.

Medical sources said that scores of soldiers from the two-warring rivals arrived at hospitals to receive treatment.

An unknown number of soldiers were killed in the ongoing street battles in Aden.

On Saturday, the interior ministry threatened to use the force against any gatherings, marches or protests that may call for dissolving the internationally-backed government.

Banning the demonstrations in Aden came just one day before the end of the one week deadline that the "Southern Resistance Forces" gave Yemen's President Abdu-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to sack the Aden-based government.

The southern port city of Aden is considered as Yemen's temporary capital and the Saudi-backed Yemeni government based itself there since 2015.

Yemen's government, allied with the Saudi-led Arab military coalition, has for about three years been battling Iran-backed Shiite Houthi rebels over control of the country.

The coalition began a military air campaign in March 2015 to roll back Houthi gains and reinstate exiled President Hadi and his government to the power.

The coalition also imposed air and sea blockade to prevent weapons from reaching Houthis, who had invaded the capital Sanaa militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces.

UN statistics show more than 10,000 people, most of them civilians, have been killed since the coalition intervened in the Yemeni civil war that also displaced around 3 million.

The Arab country is also suffering from the world's largest cholera epidemic since April, with about 5,000 cases reported everyday.