Protesters were dispersed by bullets in Aden on June 15. Photo taken by the South Yemen Movement.
For more than ten days, the residents of a neighbourhood in the southern Yemeni city of Aden have been at the mercy of tanks and snipers, deployed there by the Yemeni army. According to our Observers, the army has adopted a shoot-on-sight policy and the neighbourhood of Mansoura has become so dangerous that some residents have abandoned their homes.
Aden, the largest town in southern Yemen, has long been the stronghold of a separatist movement. In 1994, following a four-month civil war
between the armed forces of the former Northern and Southern Yemeni states - which the southern secessionists lost - South Yemen was re-attached to the North. Since then, there have been regular clashes between separatist groups and the authorities. In 2007, a new separatist group called the South Yemen Movement was created to call for independence through peaceful means.
On June 15, the army launched an assault on a camp that separatists
had set up in Martyrs’ Square, in the centre of the Mansoura neighbourhood. Several people were injured. The violence escalated on Friday June 23, when soldiers opened fire on a group of mourners who were part of a funeral procession heading towards Martyrs’ Square. A video posted on YouTube shows the procession being dispersed by heavy gunfire.
WARNING: This video contains extremely violent scenes.
Protesters fleeing army gunfire. Video published on YouTube on June 15.
It has been difficult to get hold of accurate information regarding the number of casualties, but independent activists claim that the attack left a dozen people dead and more than 30 wounded. The army confirmed that they intervened in Mansoura, but claim they did so in order to relieve traffic congestion.
Our Observer tells us the army has not left the neighbourhood since.
According to activists, the fighting wounded more than 30 people. Photo taken by the South Yemen Movement.