The self-proclaimed “prime minister” of the Saudi-backed regime, Ahmed bin Daghr, is reportedly preparing to flee for his life, away from the southern Yemeni city of Aden and towards possible refuge in Saudi Arabia. This is reported by the Associated Press.
According to officials in Yemen, fighters of the with the so-called Southern Transitional Council (STC), the high command of South Yemeni separatist movement, fought all the way to the gates of the Palace of Maashiq overnight on Monday. The palace is the seat of authority for the Hadi regime in the area, and in fact in all of the territory it holds within Yemen.
While Ahmed bin Daghr was still said to be holing up within the palace on Wednesday, it is expected he will follow the example of his self-proclaimed president, Abrabbuh Mansur Hadi, and run to Saudi Arabia soon.
“The separatists have surrounded the palace and now control the main gate. Those inside are unofficially under house arrest at this point,” an anonymous officer with Hadi’s forces told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The main reason why the STC militias haven’t stormed the palace outright, is likely the presence of Saudi armed forces in the compound.
South Yemeni pro-secession activists did raise the South Yemeni flag above the palace’s gate, a clear symbol of rebellion against the unified Yemeni republic that was formed in 1990.
According to the International Committee of the Red Cross, over 36 people have been killed and nearly 200 others injured during the clashes on Sunday and Monday. The STC has been sending reinforcements in from the provinces of Dhale and Shabwah.
The recent wave of conflict between Southern separatists and Hadi forces started when a deadline imposed by the STC that called for the resignation of the Ahmed bin Daghr administration, ended on Sunday. Led by former governor of Aden Aidarous al-Zubaidi, the STC is now demanding full secession of southern Yemen from the Yemeni state.