Hadi forces fight southern separatists over Zinjibar

Violent clashes erupted Monday between Saudi-backed  government and Fighters from of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Zinjibar city, the capital of Abyan province, in the first major clash since the Southern Transitional Council declared self-rule over the region.

The two sides fought for control of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, the separatist STC said.aden

Government troops launched an offensive on the outskirts of Zinjibar, some 60 kilometers from the main southern city of Aden, sources from both sides told AFP.

An STC official, Nabil al-Hanachi said that they managed to “stop the attack and kill many of them”, without giving figures.

He said the attack was carried out by the military wing of the Islamist party Al-Islah, which is allied with his government.

Video footage showed government armored vehicles on fire, as STC forces celebrated their “victory”.

Medical sources said that two government soldiers were killed and 13 wounded, while the separatists had two dead and 11 wounded. The casualties were transported to local hospitals.

The government and the STC have technically been allies in the long war against the Houthis.

But the separatists in the south, which used to be an independent country, have agitated to break away again — a campaign that was temporarily put to rest with a power-sharing deal signed in Riyadh last November.

On April 26, however, the STC declared self-rule in southern Yemen, accusing the government of failing to carry out its duties and of “conspiring” against their cause.