Yemeni army terrorises residents in the southern city of Aden

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. 
Contributors

“Not even the ambulances are safe”

Ahmed Al-Yazidi is a doctor and an activist who belongs to the South Yemen Movement.
 
Army units and snipers are still stationed in Mansoura, around Martyrs’ Square. The neighbourhood is like a ghost town; all the shops are closed. Security forces ransacked many of them, and they also vandalised a display dedicated to martyrs from the South.
 
Soldiers opened fire on protesters taking part in a funeral procession on June 22.
 
Sometimes they fire at cars driving down nearby streets. Even ambulances are shot at. A few days ago [Editor’s note: on the night of the June 18], they burst into the Doctors Without Borders’ operating theatre and tried to drag a patient away.
 
Lots of residents have deserted their homes. Of those people who have decided to stay and defend their property, most are members of local committees that were set up more than a year ago, at the beginning of the revolution [the popular uprising that led to the departure of President Abdullah Saleh in January 2012]. Some of them have fired at soldiers who approach their homes.
 
Protesters tend to an injured man. Photo taken by a local activist. 
 
Protesters help the injured on June 22. 
 
This post was written with FRANCE 24 journalist Djamel Belayachi.

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