Image Credit: Source: Adel Al Awar

Al Mukalla: Local authorities in Yemen’s province of Shabwa deployed 30 coastguards who recently graduated from military camps run by the UAE military forces in South Yemen, local government and military officials said on Tuesday.

Khalid Al Adhemi, commander of security belt forces in Shabwa’s Balhaf, told Gulf News that the coastguards stationed off the coast of Balhaf region that hosts a giant LNG plant and dozens of others would be sent back to the province after finishing military training in neighbouring Hadramout.

“Those 30 soldiers were trained by local officers in Hadramout and armed and paid by the UAE military,” Al Adhemi said.

Security measures have been tightened around the plant since the company that runs it announced in early 2015 halting production citing security concerns, mainly from Al Qaida militants who at that time exploited the war against Al Houthis to gain a foothold in the province. Al Adhemi said his forces were equipped with four armed boats. “There are 80 soldiers receiving military training in Hadramout and would be deployed in Balhaf in the coming months. We still demand for training more forces.”

After Yemen president Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi ordered merging the armed groups known as resistance fighters who fought off Al Houthis into armed and security forces, hundreds of people have been taken to military camps in Hadramout where they underwent military training by UAE officers.

Al Adhemi said 600 resistance fighters-turned soldiers were deployed in Balhaf to boost security around the vital facility, adding that local tribes managed to protect the plant from looters and Al Qaida militants.

 

Mocha front

Fighting between government forces and Al Houthi fighters intensified on the edges of Yakhtel region, north of the Red Sea Mocha town, local media reports said. Government forces have recently marched towards the port city of Hodeida after liberating Mocha town in Taiz province. As the government forces get closer to their last major seaport city, Al Houthi fortified their military positions and planted landmines in Khokha and other regions to slow advancing forces.

On Tuesday, Al Masdar Online quoted a military source as saying that the Saudi-led coalition air defence intercepted a ballistic missile fired at the government forces in Mocha town. The militia forces have fired more than two dozen ballistic missiles at Marib province where thousands of government and coalition troops are stationed. The missiles usually fail to reach their targets.