The war of words between the Yemeni government and the Southern Transitional Council (STC) escalated to real-time clashes in the cities of Shaqra and Zinjibar in the Abyan governorate. Field reports indicate that deaths and injuries were incurred by both sides.
These developments came after southern separatists, who are effectively in control of the city of Aden, declared about two weeks ago a state of emergency in areas of their control. The STC accuses the internationally recognized Yemeni government of corruption.
Field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat that government forces received reinforcements in Shaqra city prior to launching an attack on STC positions in Zinjibar, which is located 15 kilometers away and is Abyan governorate’s largest city.
Yemeni authorities gave no details on the results of the attack.
Meanwhile, STC leader Aidarus al-Zoubaidi, in a televised speech, called on separatists to declare war against what he described as Islah Party militias and terrorist forces who control the government.
Zoubaidi called on his forces to confront what he described as "brutal aggression," considering that the STC was fighting a "fateful war, in order for the south to enjoy freedom and gain its independence, which it has long fought for."
Local sources stated that the government forces pushed forward from their positions in the "Qarn Al-Classi" area and advanced to the "Sheikh Salem" area east of the city of Zinjibar after fierce clashes with the STC, whom the government accuses of turning on and disrupting the Riyadh Agreement.
Government forces are looking to lock control over Zinjibar city and then advance towards Aden city, STC media reported, adding that separatists were successful in thwarting that effort alongside destroying government heavy-duty equipment.