Yemeni armed members of a local group supporting fugitive President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi arrive on March 23, 2015 from the city of Abyan in Aden before being deployed around the city of Lahj. © AFP
Fresh clashes have broken out between Yemeni Ansarullah fighters and forces loyal to fugitive President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi in the southwestern city of Ta’izz.
The violence erupted in two areas south of the Ta’izz city on Monday. It was not immediately clear how many Ansarullah fighters or militants were killed or wounded in the clashes.
Ansarullah fighters on Sunday took control of Ta’izz, a strategic city between the capital, Sana’a, and Aden. The city is seen as a key entry point to Hadi’s refuge in Aden.
The Houthi fighters and their allies seized the city’s airport after defeating forces loyal to the fugitive president. They also captured several state facilities including a court complex in Ta’izz, which is Yemen’s third largest city.
Houthi movement’s Ansarullah fighters also sent reinforcement to an area in the neighboring Ibb Province, 30 kilometers northeast of Ta’izz.
They have reportedly taken over several schools in the area and converted them into military barracks.
Troops deployment in Lahj Province
Forces loyal to Hadi have been deployed in Lahj Province, north of Aden, in anticipation of a possible attack by the Houthis.
The developments came after the United Nations special envoy to Yemen warned on Sunday that a serious political conflict is leading the Arab country towards a civil war.
“Events in Yemen are leading the country away from political settlement and to the edge of civil war,” Jamal Benomar told an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in a video briefing from Qatar on Sunday.
“Emotions are running extremely high and, unless solutions can be found, the country will fall into further violent confrontations,” he added.
In late January, Hadi, along with the cabinet of Premier Khaled Bahah, stepped down over pressure from the Ansarullah revolutionaries, but the Yemeni parliament did not approve his resignation.
Hadi fled his home in the capital Sana’a on February 21 after weeks under effective house arrest and went to Aden, Yemen’s second largest city, where he officially withdrew his resignation and highlighted his intention to resume duties.
The Ansarullah fighters took control of the capital in September and are currently trying to advance toward Aden.