Al Mukalla: Yemen President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi returned on Saturday to the southern city of Aden as his troops engaged in heavy battles with Al Houthis on many fronts, local officials said.
Hadi was seen shaking hands with a queue of cabinet ministers and senior government officials at Aden airport. Officials sad Hadi would spearhead military offensives to recapture Taiz and other locations from Al Houthi rebels.
Hadi first landed in Aden in September last year when his forces backed by massive military support from the Saudi-led coalition liberated the city and neighbouring provinces from Al Houthis and went back to Saudi Arabia as the government forces were clearing the city of Aden from Al Qaida and other militants groups.
Hadi declared Aden the temporary capital of Yemen early last year after fleeing Al Houthi-held Sana’a.
During his visit to Aden, Hadi will have to handle other thorny issues like paying government employees and Yemeni students abroad and restoring peace to some liberated areas. Al Houthis stopped sending government salaries to the liberated provinces after Hadi ordered shifting headquarter of the central bank to Aden.
Also in Aden, an army official told Gulf News on Saturday that the Saudi-led coalition dispatched new troops and military equipment to the city, apparently for an imminent offensive to break the siege of Taiz, Yemen’s third largest city, from Al Houthis. “Those heavily armed forces crossed into the city and settled in the coalition’s camp.” the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to brief reporters.
Government forces pushed deeper into the province of Saada, Al Houthis power base, taking control of several strategic locations and killing at least two dozen rebel fighters, the governor of Saada, Hadi Tarshan said on Friday.
The state run Saba news agency quoted the governor as saying that the government forces killed as many as 20 Al Houthis and arrested many others during their march towards the capital of Saada province. Similar heavy clashes occurred in the city of Taiz where Al Houthis failed to make territorial gains despite their intensive mortar and canon shelling on the city, local army commanders said.
Several loyalists and Al Houthis were killed on Friday and Saturday. In Nehim district, Sana’a province, the government forces and Al Houthis traded mortar and canon fires as troops try to break months of military stalemate on this front. Warplanes from the Saudi-led coalition struck Al Houthis military reinforcements and camps in Taiz, Jawf, Marib, Hajja.