Clashes between Yemeni government forces and southern separatists continued for the second day in a row in Abyan governorate, east of Aden, without any advances recorded on either sides, according to field sources.
Both sides to the conflict deployed reinforcements to the battleground with the Yemeni government holding the Southern Transitional Council (STC) responsible for the fighting, calling on the group to end its revolt and to backtrack its plans for self-administration.
Government forces hinted that they may resort to a military solution to the situation at hand.
Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hadhrami said the STC had rejected calls by the government and the international community to reverse its declaration of self-rule.
Hadhrami said the army will do "everything necessary to preserve the state, its institutions, and the safety of its citizens."
The foreign minister urged the group to implement the Riyadh Agreement, a power-sharing deal brokered by Saudi Arabia in November to defuse tension after the STC briefly took over Aden in August.
“The responsibility of the national army is to defend the country, protect its security and territorial integrity, and address every armed rebellion, and the consequent undermining of the country's institutions and its legitimate authority,” Hadhrami said in a hint that the government may resort to a military solution to end the armed STC uprising.
As for battlefield developments in Abyan, Yemeni Army Spokesman Brigadier General Abdo Majali said that the defense ministry command received reports of the STC making reinforcements in the cities of Zinjibar, Sheikh Salim and al-Tarryah.
According to Majali’s statement, published by the Army’s official website, STC members provoked army positions in the Shaqra area by firing mortar shells, drawing retaliation from the military.
Meanwhile in Aden, sources revealed that the STC deployed elements and military grade vehicles across Aden and its gates.
In a speech on Monday, STC leader Aidarous al-Zubaidi called for southern forces to be "ready," urging people in the region to "defend their national gains".