Aden / AFP
Yemen’s president has criticised what he called the “unacceptable” expulsion from Aden of hundreds of people originating from the north, after loyalists drove Iran-backed rebels out of the southern city.
“The individual acts of expelling citizens of Taez and other cities (from Aden) is unacceptable,” President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi said late Sunday, quoted by the official sabanew.net website.
Taez, he added, was of strategic importance to Aden.
Located in the southwest, Taez was historically part of northern Yemen, whose residents are viewed as occupiers by many inhabitants of Aden and other provinces in the formerly independent south.
Prime Minister Ahmed bin Dagher said acts by “dozens do not necessitate in any case expelling hundreds” of northerners from the city, describing the move as “harsh collective punishment against a group of citizens”.
Yemen has been torn by deadly conflict since Iran-backed Houthi rebels descended from their northern strongholds and seized the capital Sanaa and other parts of the country since September 2014.
In March last year, pro-government forces and southern fighters backed by a Saudi-led military coalition drove the rebels out of southern regions, including Aden.
But authorities have struggled to secure the city, which the government declared as Yemen’s temporary capital, as attacks attributed to Al-Qaeda and the IS group increased.
Pro-government activists and coalition commanders accuse former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has allied with the Houthis, of backing extremists to carry out attacks against Hadi’s loyalists.