Yemeni government forces rout separatists from southern city

Yemeni forces have taken control of the city. (File/AFP)
Updated 23 August 2019

Yemeni government forces rout separatists from southern city

  • Clashes over Etq, the capital of oil-rich Shabwa province erupted late Thursday night
  • Separatist militiamen of the so-called Southern Transitional Council, have so far seized strategic southern areas

SANAA: Forces loyal to Yemen’s internationally recognized government have taken full control of a key southern city after overnight clashes with separatists, Yemeni security officials said Friday.
Clashes over Etq, the capital of oil-rich Shabwa province erupted late Thursday night and lasted until Friday morning, said the security officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because there were not authorized to talk to the media.
Separatist militiamen of the so-called Southern Transitional Council, have so far seized strategic southern areas, including the city of Aden and much of the nearby Abyan province.
A Saudi-Emirati commission flew to southern Yemen last week to negotiate a truce between the government forces and separatists but has so far made no progress.
In a tweet posted early Friday, Hani Ben Braik, a separatist leader, would not admit defeat at Etq but said his militiamen chose not to pursue a battle in the city out of “respect” for the truce efforts.
However, Ben Baraik warned his forces would fight back if they were attacked again.


Iraqi security forces raid Baghdad’s main protest camp, shoot at demonstrators

Updated 25 January 2020

Iraqi security forces raid Baghdad’s main protest camp, shoot at demonstrators

  • The clashes took place after authorities began removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square and across at least one main bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad
  • Security forces began the raids just hours after populist cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said he wound halt the involvement of his supporters in the anti-government unrest

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces raided Baghdad’s main protest site at Tahrir Square on Saturday, firing live rounds and tear gas at anti-government demonstrators who have camped out there for months, Reuters reporters said.
There were no immediate reports of casualties but at least seven people were wounded in clashes with police earlier in the day, medics and security sources said.
The clashes took place after authorities began removing concrete barriers near Tahrir Square and across at least one main bridge over the Tigris River in Baghdad.
In the southern city of Basra, security forces raided the main anti-government sit-in overnight and deployed in force to stop protesters gathering there again, security sources said. Police arrested at least 16 protesters in Basra, they said.
The actions appeared to be an attempt to fully clear out anti-government sit-ins and end months of popular demonstrations that have called for the removal of Iraq’s entire ruling elite.
Security forces began the raids just hours after populist cleric Moqtada Al-Sadr said he wound halt the involvement of his supporters in the anti-government unrest.
Sadr had supported the demands of protesters for the removal of corrupt politicians and provision of services and jobs soon after the demonstrations began in October but stopped short of calling all his followers to join in.
Many of Sadr’s millions of supporters who hail from Baghdad’s slums have been involved in demonstrations, however.
Sadr’s followers held a march on Friday calling for a removal of US troops from the country in a rally separate from the anti-government protests. The march, which some observers expected to descend into violence, dissipated after several hours.
Sadr wrote on Twitter late on Friday that he would “try not to interfere in the issue (of protesters), either negatively or positively, so that they can shepherd the fate of Iraq.” He did not elaborate.
In Basra, protesters urged Sadr to reconsider what they said was a withdrawal of support for popular demonstrations. In a letter circulated on social media, they called for the support of Sadrists, without whom they feared attacks by security forces.