Yemen's Shabwa governor cracks down on rebellious troops

Operation against Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group Al Islah began on Wednesday

Yemeni pro-government security forces man a checkpoint in Ataq, the capital of the province of Shabwa, on January 20, 2022. AFP
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The governor of Yemen's oil-rich province of Shabwa announced the launch of a military campaign to crack down on rebellious troops linked with the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated Islah party on Wednesday.

In a statement, governor Awad bin Al Wazir Al Awlaki said the operation would target Special Security Forces and other troops from the Attaq military axis who have revolted against local authorities after "exhausting all peaceful options".

"Based on our responsibilities towards our people and legitimate and lawful mandates, we announce that we began a military campaign to impose security and stability in the province and save the lives and properties of the residents in Shabwa," Mr Awlaki's statement said.

The governor's move is backed by the Presidential Leadership Council (PLC).

It comes after clashes that began on Monday among Shabwa Defense Forces loyal to the governor and Al Islah.

"Divisions from Shabwa Defense Forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition took full control over bases of the rebellious Special Security Forces and the military base of the 21st Mika Brigade and military base of the Emergency Police and the headquarters of the Attaq military axis in and around Attaq city," Salem Naser, a government official in Shabwa's capital Attaq, told The National.

"Attaq city is fully secured after driving the rebellious out of it."

The pro-government troops that drove the rebels out of Attaq carried on the offensive, tracking the rebellious elements in the rural areas between Marib and Shabwa, a military source in Attaq told The National.

"The campaign is also backed by the local tribes and will continue until the province is entirely secured," the source said.

Clashes between the pro-government Shabwa Defense Forces and the security and military divisions loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood group erupted early this week following a decision made by the governor to remove the commander of the Special Security Forces, Gen Abd Rabu Lakab, who rejected the governor's decision.

Updated: August 10, 2022, 2:16 PM