Tracker: Unrest in Southern Yemen
Tensions in the south of Yemen have increased over the past few years. The loosely organized Southern Movement – an umbrella group for southerners demanding secession – has complained of the illegal acquisition of southern land by the government, forced retirements from civil and military positions for southerners, the withholding of pensions for southern military officers, and a sense that central government troops are enforcing a northern occupation of the south. There are violent elements of the Southern Movement that have attacked military convoys in the south or targeted security personnel, but these elements do not appear to represent the majority of the secessionists.
The Critical Threats Project launched a tracker to follow the escalating conflict in southern Yemen.
Updates to this tracker have been put on hold.
AUGUST 16, 2011: Local leader Abdul Latif al Sayyed, a Southern Movement Supporter, ordered al Qaeda militants to leave Jaar, a town in Abyan governorate. The local al Qaeda leader, Abu Ali Hadrami, refused. At least four militants were killed and seven others injured in the ensuing clashes.
JULY 9, 2011: Gunmen ambushed a security patrol Thalaet village in Aden, killing a Yemeni army officer, Lotf al Mazlum, and two troops. Two civilians were also wounded in the attack. Officials suspect that southern separatists were behind the attack.
JULY 8, 2011: Time magazine reported that military personnel loyal to President Saleh are no longer present in Aden, and anti-government graffiti and propaganda can be seen “on walls, shops and even across the high security walls of now empty government buildings.” Former flags of south Yemen can reportedly be seen throughout the city. Southern Movement leaders have stepped in to fill the power vacuum in south Yemen.
JULY 4, 2011: Yemen’s opposition coalition unilaterally drafted a plan to form a transitional ruling council that would include “the protestors and political forces of separatist Southern Movement and Houthi-led Shi’ite rebels, in preparation to declare the establishment of [a] post-Saleh” political establishment.
JULY 1, 2011: An armed militant from the Southern Movement was killed “in an attack on an army position north of Aden.” Six others, including three soldiers, were injured.
JUNE 24, 2011: Security forces opened fire at a funeral procession in Aden. The funeral was for an al Qaeda suspect, named Ahmed Darwish, who died one day after being taken into custody for his involvement in the June 2010 attack on intelligence headquarters in Aden approximately one year ago, which killed 11 people. Famous Southern separatist leader Jeyab al Saadi was killed and six other people were wounded when security forces opened fire on the funeral procession. Thousands of people, many of whom were holding the flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen (PDRY), attended the funeral. Five people were killed in the ensuing clashes.
JUNE 24, 2011: Armed members of the Southern Movement attacked army troops stationed in al Mansoura city with rocket-propelled grenades, an eyewitness told Xinhua. The rocket caused a huge explosion in two army vehicles and led to heavy fighting between government troops and separatist fighters. At least three soldiers and a passerby were killed in the fighting. Dozens others were injured. A criminal investigator later claimed that the blast was caused by a booby trap and not a rocket-propelled grenade. Southern separatists attacked other government buildings and police stations in the region.
JUNE 16, 2011: Gunmen linked with the Southern Movement shot and killed two Yemeni soldiers in Lahij governorate. A local official said, “Gunmen opened fire on a military truck…killing the driver and a passenger. Both were soldiers.” Local officials told Xinhua that armed tribesmen and southern separatists took complete control of Lahij and seized all government buildings and facilities. A member of the Southern Movement told Xinhua that the takeover aimed at “preventing the Yemeni security authorities from handling government buildings to al-Qaida militants.”
JUNE 10, 2011: Suspected Southern Movement militants attacked a military checkpoint outside al Habilain in Lahij governorate. At least five soldiers and three rebels were killed.
APRIL 20, 2011: At least six gunmen attacked security forces at a protest in Khormaksar city in Aden governorate, killing one soldier and wounding at least four other people. Some witnesses report that the gunmen were connected to the Southern Movement.
APRIL 4, 2011: Southern separatists stormed military checkpoints in the southern governorate of Lahij. The clashes left one soldier dead and five soldiers wounded. Southern separatist casualties are unknown. In another southern governorate, al Dhaleh, southern separatists ambushed a police patrol, injuring four people.
MARCH 28, 2011: Explosions in an ammunitions factory in the Abyan province town of Jaar killed at least 150 people. The source of the blasts is unknown, but officials suspect a cigarette ignited the explosion. The day before the blast, 30 hooded unidentified gunmen raided the factory and drove off with weapons. Local residents said that the militants belonged to the southern separatist movement that is known to be active in Abyan. Yemeni security officials dispute this account, suspecting al Qaeda militants took control of the building along with several others after confrontation with government military forces, setting a deadly, explosive trap for local looters rushing into the factory after militants withdrew from the factory.
MARCH 24, 2011: A bomb exploded underneath a police patrol in Yemen’s southern city of Aden, killing one policeman and injuring seven others. “A bomb exploded as their vehicle passed through the neighborhood of Khor Maksar in Aden,” reported a local official. Yemeni officials did not elaborate. The media has indicated that southern separatists or al Qaeda militants could be responsible for the ambush. Elsewhere, Republican Guard forces and defected army units clashed in Mukalla, injuring one person. This is the second time Yemeni troops have fought. Witnesses and medics report three people were wounded. Anti-government tribes have taken over 17 military compounds in Shabwah governorate, all of which had been under the command of Yahya Saleh, the president’s nephew. The tribes control four of the governorate’s districts: Habban, Nisab, Saeed, and Mayfaa. Two major oil facilities are in Habban and Saeed districts.
MARCH 22, 2011: Yemeni security forces killed two people and injured nine at a protest 20 kilometers south of Taiz, a southern city. Over 200 protesters had gathered to protest a government enforced electrical blackout and as the group moved to the electrical generators, government forces opened fire with live rounds. One protester, Abdul Qawi al Ezzani, explained that “scores of government backers, including policemen in plainclothes, repelled the protestors and opened fire on them…” Security forces repelled the demonstrators and continued to enforce the blackout. Clashes between Yemeni army and Republican Guard forces in Mukalla killed two soldiers. Residents had reported sounds of explosions and shooting near the presidential palace in the city. Looting in Aden after police forces withdrew from the city prompted the deployment of Yemeni military forces to the city. Witnesses report that armored vehicles and tanks are stationed at the entrances to the city. Four tourism night clubs were burned down over night. Presidential guards surrounded air force headquarters in Hudaydah after the commander announced his support for the protestors.
MARCH 18, 2011: At least fifteen people were reported to have been injured in clashes with police and government supporters in the southern city of Taiz. Elsewhere in southern Yemen, the state news agency, SABA News, reported that newly appointed Aden governor Ahmed al Qa’tabi declared that, “We had agreed with the security committee not to use live bullets…after four persons were killed last Saturday in clashes in Dar Saad district in Aden.”
MARCH 16, 2011: Security forces clashed with protesters in 14 of Yemen’s 21 governorates, including in the southern Taiz governorate.
MARCH 16, 2011: Witnesses report that dozens of people were injured when Yemeni police fired live rounds at anti-government protestors in al Hudaydah. Reportedly, police used tear gas and bullets to disperse protestors. An estimated 10,000 government supporters also attacked the 4,000 protestors in the port-city. A medic said that over 150 people were wounded in al Hudaydah.
MARCH 14, 2011: Three people were injured when police fired into the air to disperse tens of thousands of protestors. There were reports of heavy gunfire in Taiz. March 13, witnesses report clashes between police and protestors injured at least four people. At least twelve protestors were injured March 12 when security forces fired on them.
MARCH 13, 2011: Protestors seized weapons from a police station in Aden. Medics report six protestors were shot in the head and another two were in critical condition after clashes March 12 night. March 11, security forces fired on protestors in a stadium in Sheikh Uthman, near Aden, as the protestors tore down pictures of President Saleh. At least six people were injured. Elsewhere, in the southern city of Taiz, witnesses report clashes between police and protestors injured at least four people. At least twelve protestors were injured March 12 when security forces fired on them
MARCH 12, 2011: Yemen security forces stormed pro-democracy protesters in the capital city of Sana’a, and the southern cities of Aden and Mukalla just before dawn. Security forces fired tear-gas canisters and wielded knives and bats, wounding hundreds of people and killing at least seven.
MARCH 11, 2011: Yemeni security forces storm the municipal headquarters of Tor al Baha, a town in one of Yemen’s southern governorates, that had been held by the southern separatists’ tribal gunmen for months. “Large military forces launched a campaign this morning to retake the municipality building,” a witness reported to Reuters, “But gunmen from the southern movement confronted them and the two sides exchanged fire.” Concurrently, security personnel clashed with protesters in the southern governorate of Dhaleh, killing two and injuring four; police in the southern city of Taiz stepped up their efforts to break up escalating demonstrations using teargas and water cannons.
MARCH 10, 2011: Security forces in Aden opened fire on a group of anti-government protestors attempting to tear down photos of President Saleh, injuring at least six people.
MARCH 8,2011: UNICEF reported that anti-government demonstrators in Aden have threatened to burn down schools in the Mansora and Mualla districts if teachers and students do not join anti-government protests. The report stated that “children and teachers were threatened and told if they would not leave the schools and join the protest, they (the schools) would be burned down. Gun shots were heard in the area.” Yemeni Minister of Education Abdul Salam al Jawfi told SABA News, Yemen’s news agency, that those responsible would be punished and the Yemeni Parliament cautioned all schools in the area to take precautions to ensure their security.
MARCH 7, 2011: Yemeni security forces attempted to disperse protests in Aden through the use of tear gas, batons, and live rounds fired into the air. Women joined in protests after a bullet critically wounded a protestor Monday. Local officials report that 25 demonstrators were arrested Monday.
MARCH 5, 2011: Yemeni security forces arrested sixteen protestors Saturday outside of al Nur mosque in Aden. Witnesses report that three protestors were wounded Friday night during a sit-in. Security forces used tear gas and fired into the air to disperse the protestors and security personnel wielding batons injured two demonstrators. Over 20,000 people are believed to have marched in Aden.
MARCH 3, 2011: SABA News, Yemen’s news agency, reported that the Interior Ministry has ordered security forces in Aden, Abyan, Lahij, Hadramawt and Ma’rib governorates to exercise increased precaution and be on the lookout for any terrorist activity.
MARCH 2, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that security forces arrested “dozens” of Southern Movement activists in Aden.
MARCH 1, 2011: Skirmishes between armed militants and security forces in Radfan, in Lahij governorate, left two people dead, including a suspected local gangster and a security officer who was killed in a friendly fire incident. The Yemen Post reported that security forces shelled the city intermittently during the morning and afternoon of March 1.
MARCH 1, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that at least 25 people were injured in clashes between anti-government protestors and construction workers in Hadramawt governorate. Workers threw stones and shot at demonstrators, who broke into the construction site and severely beat several laborers. Over 30,000 people are thought to have participated in the rally.
MARCH 1, 2011: Armed tribesmen abducted an Uzbek doctor living in Shabwah governorate and brought him to Abyan government, where they demanded that the government punish those responsible for a December 2009 air strike in the region that killed dozens of people. A tribesman told Reuters, “They took him to pressure the government to hold the people behind the air strike accountable. The people are upset with the government for not dealing with this issue.”
FEBRUARY 28, 2011: Thirteen MPs, all of whom live in southern Yemen and are affiliated with different political parties, suspended their parliamentary memberships in protest against violent crackdowns against anti-government demonstrators in southern Yemen. In a joint statement, the MPs announced that they would not return to parliament until the use of “excessive force” is ceased, all political prisoners are released, the “military siege[s]” on Aden, Radfan, and Lahij end, and those responsible for harming protestors are punished.
FEBRUARY 28, 2011: Human Rights Watch reported that Yemeni security forces have “disappeared” at least eight people, including Southern Movement leader Hassan Baoum, and may secretly be holding as many as 59 political prisoners. Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch, said “When the security forces ‘disappear’ opponents of the government they are enforcing not the law, but the political will of the ruler.”
FEBRUARY 28, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that dozens of military vehicles and hundreds of soldiers have been deployed to Aden governorate after the JMP called for rallies to be held March 1.
FEBRUARY 26, 2011: Vice President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi visited Aden and met with local council members to discuss growing unrest in the city. Hadi also inspected damage from recent riots and pledged to create new jobs for unemployed youths.
FEBRUARY 26, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that security forces arrested at least five Southern Movement leaders, including former diplomat Qassem Aksar, in the al Mansora district of Aden.
FEBRUARY 25, 2011: A massive anti-government demonstration in Aden February 25 left at least seven people dead after security forces and demonstrators clashed. The day before, Saleh had decreed that security forces should only fire on demonstrators in the case of self-defense. At least 50 other people were wounded in clashes. Amnesty International reported that Yemeni security forces blocked access to medical care and refused to allow doctors to assist injured protestors.
FEBRUARY 25, 2011: The Southern Movement held rallies across the south of Yemen, including in Aden, Abyan, Lahij and Hadramawt governorates. Thousands of people demonstrated against the regime in Taiz and Ibb governorates, and security forces prevented a small group of protestors from gathering in Hudaydah governorate.
FEBRUARY 24, 2011: Southern Movement militants attacked the headquarters of the Central Security forces in Lahij governorate, injuring at least six policemen and kidnapping Captain Mohamed Ali al Fakeeh, the local commander, along with two other soldiers. Xinhua reported that at least fifteen armed men attacked the building with grenades and small arms before fleeing with their hostages.
FEBRUARY 24, 2011: At least one civilian was killed during a Southern Movement protest in the city of Lawder in Abyan governorate. A mine planted along a route frequently used by demonstrators exploded. No group has claimed responsibility.
FEBRUARY 22, 2011: Thousands of protestors demonstrated in Aden, calling for an end to Saleh’s rule. Security forces fired into the air to disperse crowds. Medics report a total of 12 dead since February 16, while the government reports only four deaths. Witnesses reported that several thousands of demonstrators clashed with security forces on February 21 and that at least one person was killed and four others injured when security forces opened fire. An official said a group of protestors were throwing stones at a security vehicle in Khormaksar district, which is when the shots were fired.
FEBRUARY 19, 2011: Several Southern Movement leaders living in exile, including Ali Nasser Mohamed, issued a statement calling for Southern Movement demonstrators to unite with other anti-government protestors, and urged the government peacefully acquiesce to the protestor’s demands.
FEBRUARY 17, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that hundreds of people have laid siege to police headquarters in the Mansora district of Aden after police killed at least two people and injured at least ten others during protests calling for President Saleh to step down and allow southern Yemen to secede from the rest of the country. CNN reported that one of those killed was an eighteen year old student. President Saleh’s personal website reported that Saleh ordered an investigation into the cause of the riots.
FEBRUARY 11, 2011: Dozens of Southern Movement supporters in Aden and Zinjibar, including Tariq al Fadhli, participated in a “Day of Rage,” calling for the end of the “occupation.” After several hours, army tanks and security forces dispersed the protests.
FEBRUARY 11, 2011: Southern Movement militants released two Yemeni soldiers captured February 10 in a Habilain market after tribal leaders intervened on their behalf. Three more soldiers, abducted by Southern Movement fighters January 18 on the outskirts of Habilain, remain prisoners.
FEBRUARY 9, 2011: Security forces injured at least four people during a Southern Movement protest in the Mansora district of Aden. Police fired tear gas and live rounds to disperse demonstrators after protestors blocked several streets and set tires on fire in an effort to prevent police from arresting several political activists thought to be organizers of an upcoming “Day of Rage” protest.
FEBRUARY 8, 2011: The Yemen Post reported that hundreds of soldiers accompanied by dozens of tanks and armored vehicles were deployed to Aden governorate in advance of a scheduled Southern Movement protest next Friday in the city of Aden.
FEBRUARY 8, 2011: A court in Aden initiated a trial in absentia for Southern Movement leader Shalal Ali Shia on charges of provoking revolution and organizing demonstrations in the south of Yemen and inciting revolt against the Yemeni government.
FEBRUARY 2, 2011: Police in the southern city of Aden clashed with protestors, arresting thirty people, at an anti-government demonstration organized by the separatist Southern Movement. Demonstrators called for the release of government prisoners. Similar protests took place in other towns in southern Yemen.
FEBRUARY 2, 2011: Clashes between security forces and unidentified militants outside the town of Habilain in Lahij governorate left three people injured. AFP cites witnesses as saying that gunfire commenced when security personnel set up a base west of the town, while the Yemen Post reports that the injuries occurred when the military shelled the town of Radfan, wounding three people and damaging tens of residences. The military has been mounting repeated offensives in the area, and the Yemeni Ministry announced that “outlaw elements” in the area kidnapped three soldiers in the second half of January.
JANUARY 26, 2011: Police and soldiers dispersed demonstrations in Shabwah governorate in southern Yemen, injuring at least five protestors and arresting dozens more. A local councilman told Xinhua that although demonstrators had planned to gather in the city of Ataq, “a large number of army forces have blocked the main roads,” adding that “the protestors were chanting slogans against the government’s political and economic policies, they also demanded the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.”
JANUARY 26, 2011: A young Yemeni man set himself alight in the southern city of Sheikh Othman. 25-year-old Fouad Sultan remains in critical condition after the incident, which follows similar events across the Arab world.
JANUARY 22, 2011: At least two people were injured in clashes between security forces and militants in Aden. Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunfire lasting for several hours, and rebel fighters were seen attacking a military post in the area. Fighting also broke out in Habilain in Lahij governorate where southern separatist fighters attacked security forces.
JANUARY 21, 2011: A security guard at the Yemeni vice president’s palace was wounded by a gunshot during a southern separatist protest Thursday evening in Aden’s Sada’a neighborhood. Armed demonstrators blocked streets, set fire to car tires, and fired upon security personnel, who responded with tear gas. A student who was injured in the protest later died at a local hospital.
JANUARY 19, 2011: Skirmishes between security forces and Southern Movement supporters in Aden left seven injured. The demonstrators burned tires and attacked police with rocks before the police responded with tear gas. Witnesses reported dozens were arrested, and security officials said that firefights occurred in al Saada neighborhood. Earlier this week, Southern Movement leaders Ali Salem al Beidh and Hassan Baoum had proclaimed Tuesday a “day of rage” and incited anti-government protests.
JANUARY 19, 2011: Yemeni journalist Nasser Arrabyee reported that Tariq al Fadhli burned the American flag, the Yemeni flag, the flag of the former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, and the green flag of the separatist movement, along with the pictures of former southern leaders Ali Salem al Beidh, Ali Nasser Mohammed, and Haidar Abu Bakr al Attas. Fadhli held a rally at his house in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate and said, “Our tan arms will remain (to fight) and our foreheads will be our flags.” Fadhli accused the U.S., Yemen, and Yemeni leaders of ignoring Yemeni civilians’ rights.
JANUARY 16, 2011: One woman was killed and seven civilians were injured in the town of Habilain in Lahij governorate during fighting between the military and Southern Movement militants. The army reported that four of its soldiers were wounded during the clashes. Sources suggest that the seven civilians were injured when police fired upon a protest in the town of Radfan in Lahij governorate. Sources report that the Yemeni army is in control of several villages.
JANUARY 14, 2011: Police arrested at least thirteen Southern Movement activists, including local leader Abdulmagid Saeed Wahdin, in the city of Mukallah in Hadramawt governorate. The arrests occurred during a protest in commemoration of a woman who was run over by a police vehicle during a demonstration last Thursday.
JANUARY 13, 2011: Southern Movement supporters demonstrated in Mukallah in Hadramawt governorate demanding that detained militants be released. Yemeni security forces attempted to end the demonstration. One woman was fatally injured when she was hit by a security vehicle, a second protestor was wounded by gunfire and a third protestor suffered from injuries related to tear gas.
JANUARY 12, 2011: Fighting between southern separatists and soldiers in al Malah in Lahij governorate killed four Yemeni soldiers and wounded ten others. Gunfire erupted in the early morning, and continued until around noon. Eyewitnesses reported seeing the army bombardment falling on the surrounding mountains where the militants are hiding, although some shells hit residences in nearby villages.
JANUARY 10, 2011: Clashes between Southern Movement militants and Yemeni troops in the area between Lahij governorate killed between two and four soldiers, according to a local official. Security officials said that “dozens of southern militants” were gathered for the upcoming Yemeni army offensive to regain control of the militant-occupied town of Habilain. Yemeni troop reinforcements are now reported to be in al Malah, about 20 km from Habilain. Yemeni forces have cut off the roads and communication networks “for security reasons.”
JANUARY 8, 2011: Southern Movement leaders met over the course of two days in Labus of Yafie district in Lahij governorate. There, the leaders announced that the Southern Movement recognizes January 13 as a day for “reconciliation and tolerance.” In 1986, former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen presidents Ali Nasir Muhammad and Abdul Fattah Ismail fought each other in Aden.
JANUARY 8, 2011: Five Southern Movement militants attacked a checkpoint along the highway in al Malah district in Lahij governorate Saturday. Yemeni soldiers returned fire. A security source reports that two soldiers were killed and another was injured in the attack. Arab news reports that at least three soldiers were killed and six were injured.
JANUARY 6, 2011: Southern Movement supporters kidnapped an intelligence major and three civilians from the north in al Mussaymir area in Lahij governorate. Authorities are searching for Southern Movement activist Abdullah Raweh and the kidnappings were in retaliation for this. The Brigades of Arab South Freemen distributed a communiqué in Habilain last month that threatened retaliatory kidnappings.
JANUARY 3, 2011: The Southern Movement called for civil disobedience throughout the south on the first Monday of every month. Reports say that this order was followed throughout Dhaleh governorate and was partially followed throughout Lahij governorate, especially in Radfan and Habilain.
DECEMBER 30: Mohammed Ghaleb Ahmed, a leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), will be released today due to “lack of evidence” against him. He was accused of offering $50,000 to militants to “sabotage” the soccer tournament, the Gulf Cup, in November.
DECEMBER 27: Yemen’s prosecutor general interrogated a leader of the Yemeni Socialist Party (YSP), Mohammed Ghaleb Ahmed, over his alleged support for the southern secessionists. Taher Tammah, a leader of a militant faction of the Southern Movement, alleged that the YSP had offered $50,000 to “sabotage” the late-November regional soccer tournament, the Gulf Cup.
DECEMBER 20: President Ali Abdullah Saleh spoke at Aden University on December 20 on “the political and legal aspects of constitutional rights of the unified country. He said that following unification, “We then called on our brothers to leave the past behind us.” He spoke of obstacles to unification and said that “Aden has embraced many political forces, which were grown, raised, planned, and fought to start the revolutions of September and October. They have fought seeking reunification of Yemen.”
DECEMBER 20: A security official reported that at least forty southern separatists were released from jail in Aden late on Monday. The detainees had been arrested in Radfan district of Lahij governorate for participation in riots during Southern Movement protests.
DECEMBER 20: An official source reported that gunmen ambushed Yemeni forces in Habilain district in Lahij governorate, killing an officer and three soldiers. Four other soldiers were injured in the attack.
DECEMBER 19: A Yemen security official reported the kidnapping of Captain Mohammed Ali Abdullah Hadyan near a security checkpoint north of Habilain in Lahij governorate at noon on Sunday. Taher Tammah, a leader of the more militant faction of the Southern Movement, confirmed the abduction and added that the officer is from an important tribe, which would “[put] pressure on the occupying authorities to release our detainees.” Reportedly, the kidnappers are demanding the release of detained separatists by noon Monday and threatened the officer’s life.
DECEMBER 18: Yemen has deployed at least ten armored vehicles, tanks, and hundreds of soldiers Taiz governorate to Lahij governorate. The soldiers are now stationed in Habilain, where hundreds of Southern Movement supporters are demonstrating after security forces killed wanted militant Abbas Tanbaj. Locals report that government military reinforcements in Habilain have led to clashes with separatists.
DECEMBER 18: Southern Movement supporters demonstrated in the town of Radfan in Lahij governorate to protest the shooting of Abbas Tanbaj. Thousands of people partook in the “demonstration of anger” and carried photos of Tanbaj, along with flags of the former southern republic. The demonstrators marched to downtown Habilain, where a rally was being held.
DECEMBER 17: Gunmen opened fire on a military base in Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan governorate. The attack killed three Yemeni soldiers and wounded seven others. An official reported that three attackers left on motorbikes. A soldier said that the attackers arrived on three motorbikes and in two minibuses and fired machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades and launched grenades during the attack.
DECEMBER 17: Clashes that erupted after soldiers shot and killed a wanted Southern Movement member, Abbas Tanbaj, in Habilain in Lahij governorate killed four Yemeni soldiers and an army officer. Eight additional people are reported wounded, including five soldiers, two militants, and a civilian.
DECEMBER 16: Fawaz Baoum, the son of Hassan Baoum, the head of the supreme council of the Southern Movement, reported that he and his father are still being detained. Last Friday, a security official and Fadi Baoum, another son, had confirmed their release. Fawaz reports that they are now being held in a prison in central Yemen and were permitted outside contact. His father refused to sign a commitment to Yemeni unity.
DECEMBER 13: Local officials report that five soldiers and an army officer who had been kidnapped in Dhaleh in south Yemen following the sentencing of Fares Abdullah Saleh, who was connected to the Aden sports club bombing in October, have been released. The releases were made on the condition that Saleh receive a fair trial when he appeals. Demonstrations are occurring for the third consecutive day in Dhaleh.
DECEMBER 12: Two Yemeni soldiers were seriously wounded when armed men attacked a checkpoint at the entrance to Nesab district in Shabwah governorate. The men were armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which they launched from their positions near the checkpoint.
DECEMBER 12: Gunmen potentially aligned with the Southern Movement captured three soldiers and injured five people in southern Yemen on Sunday, according to local officials. The Southern Movement has not confirmed that its members were responsible for Sunday’s kidnappings. Residents of Dhaleh report that dozens of gunmen forced businesses to shut down and motorists to stay off the road.
DECEMBER 11: A Yemeni court sentenced Fares Abdullah Saleh, a man arrested for involvement in the bombings of a sports club in Aden, to death. Taher Tammah, a leader of a faction within the Southern Movement, said that secessionists had kidnapped “seven soldiers including an officer at Daleh and Lahij, and in exchange for their freedom demand the release of their colleagues.” Tammah added that the hostages are in good health and are being held near the town of Habilain in Lahij governorate.
DECEMBER 10: Yemeni authorities released Hassan Baoum, a leader of the Southern Movement, and three other detainees on Friday.
NOVEMBER 28: Fighting erupted in Habilain district in Lahij governorate after soldiers arrested separatist Muhsen al Suhaibi on Sunday. The arrests provoked gunmen to lay siege to a military camp in Habilain district and take two soldiers hostage, giving the soldiers 24 hours to release al Suhaibi.
NOVEMBER 25: Hundreds of Southern Movement supporters protested in Habilain district in Lahij governorate on Thursday, carrying pictures of Gulf leaders and chanting separation slogans.
NOVEMBER 23: Yemeni policemen prevented hundreds of Southern Movement protesters from demonstrating in Aden. The troops blocked access to the city on all main roadways. Southern Movement sources report that Yemeni soldiers had opened fire on protesters in the town of Anad, 40 miles north of Aden, who were carrying the flag of the south.
NOVEMBER 15: Four of the men who took part in the Southern Movement’s protests against the arrest of Hassan Baoum in Hadramawt governorate were arrested for staging an illegal protest and upsetting the public. Thousands of Southern Movement supporters continued to protest Baoum’s arrest at a mass demonstration in Maifah in Shabwah governorate Friday.
NOVEMBER 10: The arrest of Hassam Baoum, leader of the Supreme Council for the Peaceful Southern Movement, drew thousands of protesters to the streets in southern Yemen. 5,000 protestors in al Dhaleh and 3,000 in Radfan demanded the release of Baoum.
OCTOBER 29: Yemen’s Southern Movement, also known as al Harak, intends to prevent the 20th Gulf Cup from being held in Abyan governorate. Al Harak leader Shalal Ali Shaye’a said, “We will use all forms of peaceful struggle to thwart the football championship and Aden will be unsafe for it…the government can’t make the event a success.”
OCTOBER 25: Mohsin al Twairah, a leader of the Southern Movement, narrowly escaped a bomb attack on his car in Jabal al Raidah in Halmeen district in Lahij governorate. The “sticky” bomb, which was most likely detonated by remote control, exploded underneath al Twairah’s parked Toyota early Saturday morning. No one was injured in the attack.
OCTOBER 14: Abdullah al Baham was shot dead during clashes between armed Southern Movement demonstrators and Yemeni security forces in Mudia in Abyan governorate. A Southern Movement official, Abbas al Assal, denied any involvement in the shooting and attributed the violence to al Qaeda. Assal said that the security forces fired on “peaceful protestors.” He added, “We are peaceful and reject violence. The Southern Movement is holding mass demonstrations to mark the 47th anniversary of the beginning of the south’s rebellion against British colonial rule.
OCTOBER 5: Public security personnel shut down the international transport route in Abyan governorate on Monday to protest salary cuts. Central security forces were unable to reopen the route because the protesters were armed. Additionally, police dispersed demonstrations in the cities of Dhaleh and Lahij, injuring two people. Spokesman for the Southern Movement’s Supreme Council, Abdu Maatari, said, “We want to send through this strike a message to the friends and neighbors of Yemen to do something to prevent holding the 20th Gulf Cup in the south.”
SEPTEMBER 28: Yemeni security forces arrested 10 separatists on Monday accused of involvement in anti-government activities in Lahij, reported the Interior Ministry. These activities included encouraging people to burn tires and cut off roads during protests.
SEPTEMBER 24: Approximately 8,000 people participated in protests against Yemeni unity across southern Yemen on Thursday. The Southern Movement reported that security officials arrested 12 of its members for their roles in planning the protests. A statement released by the group said, “resolving the southern cause is essential to resolving all problems facing Yemen… Any solution that does not stipulate a final settlement for south Yemen will be without any value.”
SEPTEMBER 22: Yemeni troops are prepared for an offensive against suspected al Qaeda militants in the town of Hawta in Shabwah governorate once the city has been cleared of civilians, according to an official involved in preparations for the assault. Ali Salem al Beidh, the former president of south Yemen and a leader of the Southern Movement, described the offensive as a push to gain “financial assistance under the pretext of fighting terrorism” prior to the Friends of Yemen meeting. He added that the government has used the pretext of fighting al Qaeda as a way to “silence the voice of the free south and its peaceful independent movement.”
SEPTEMBER 20: An explosion targeting a security patrol wounded three soldiers and two civilians at a security checkpoint in Jaar city in Abyan governorate on Saturday.
SEPTEMBER 17: Two soldiers are dead after gunmen in Shabwah governorate ambushed their vehicle with hand grenades and a rocket-propelled grenade Thursday, according to security officials.
SEPTEMBER 16: Armed Southern Movement militants marched towards Lawder district in Abyan governorate. A security official reported that the march was intended to drive out the Yemeni military presence, which would allow al Qaeda militants to remain in the city.
SEPTEMBER 16: Security officials have banned the use of motorcycles in Abyan governorate, officials announced Thursday, where most attacks against security officials have been carried out by armed motorcyclists. “Using motorbikes in terrorist operations to assassinate intelligence officers and security personal have been massively mounted over the past nine months in the province,” the official told reporters.
SEPTEMBER 16: Thousands of southerners demonstrated against the army’s “blockade” of Lawder in Abyan governorate. Aydarus Haqis, a leader of the Southern Movement, said “Thousands arrived since Wednesday evening in the city of Loder to participate in the protest aimed at lifting the army blockade imposed by Yemeni occupation forces since August.”
SEPTEMBER 15: Yemen’s Interior Ministry announced that three simultaneous explosions hit the capital of Dhaleh governorate on Tuesday. The blasts were attributed to southern separatists and no casualties were reported.
SEPTEMBER 12: Southern Movement demonstrators wounded two Yemeni soldiers in Abyan governorate Sunday. The soldiers were shot while trying to end a protest in al Ain, about eight kilometers south of the town of Lawder.
SEPTEMBER 9: Gunmen killed at least one soldier and wounded three others in Mudiya in Abyan governorate. A security official reported that the “gunmen opened fire on an army patrol with machine guns as troops were chasing suspects.”
SEPTEMBER 6: Armed tribesmen attacked a security headquarters in Shabwah governorate Monday, a tribal source reported to News Yemen. The source said the attack was revenge for the killing of a tribal member by security forces on Saturday. A security official confirmed that there were no casualties in the attack.
SEPTEMBER 5: Two people were killed and seven others were injured Sunday in clashes between security forces and militants in Lahij governorate in southern Yemen. Local sources report that the fighting began while security forces were setting up checkpoints between al Habilain and Habeel Jabr in Radfan.
SEPTEMBER 1: Sources in south Yemen report that gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Brigadier Thabet Nasser al Jawhari, commander of the 121st Infantry Brigade, Tuesday in Radfan district of Lahij governorate. Witnesses report that two of Jawhari’s bodyguards were injured in the attack.
AUGUST 31: A group of militants attacked a security checkpoint in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate according to a report from the Yemen Post.
AUGUST 31: Sources in south Yemen report that gunmen opened fire on a car carrying Brigadier Thabet Nasser al Jawhari, commander of the 121st Infantry Brigade, Tuesday in Radfan district of Lahij governorate. Witnesses report that two of Jawhari’s bodyguards were injured in the attack.
AUGUST 26: A former bodyguard of Osama bin Laden, Nasser Ahmed al Bahri, said al Qaeda is targeting southern Yemen because relations between the government and residents in the once-independent region are already poor. "The southerners hate the government ... (so al-Qaida) is fishing in troubled waters. They wanted to instill fear and anxiety in the soldiers and they have succeeded," he said. The defense ministry claimed southern secessionists fought alongside al Qaeda operatives during clashes with government forces earlier this week.
AUGUST 26: The former president of South Yemen, Ali Nasser Mohammad, and the former prime minister, Haidar al Attas, have called for an international investigation into recent events in Lawder, a city in Abyan governorate, accusing Yemeni authorities of “killing, corruption and destruction of the south in the name of combating al Qaeda.” They also claim that Yemeni government officials send al Qaeda militants to the south in order to have a pretext to attack the “peaceful Southern Movement
AUGUST 25: The Supreme Council of the Southern Movement called on Persian Gulf nations to withdraw from the Gulf Cup, which Yemen is hosting in Aden and Abyan in November. It said that participating countries are supporting Yemen’s government while “the south is bleeding.”
AUGUST 21: The deputy governor of Abyan province, Ahmed Ghalib al Rahawai survived an assassination attempt by unidentified assailants. The militants set the bomb on a road in the province’s al Rumailah district, and it injured the official and one of his guards. Also, gunmen attacked the police station in Shabwah province, but no casualties were reported.
AUGUST 20: A landmine blast injured Dhaleh Intelligence Director Abdul Khaliq Shae’a on Thursday, but no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
AUGUST 19: An unidentified assailant on a motorbike threw a hand grenade at the Jaar police station in Abyan province on Wednesday, wounding at least five policemen. The blast followed another attack in the province, which killed at least two people and wounded a dozen others.
AUGUST 18: A bomb blast in al Majalah village in Abyan province killed at least four people and wounded another ten on Wednesday. No party has been accused or claimed responsibility for the attack.
AUGUST 17: Yemeni security forces arrested a total of ten men in Lahij province on suspicions of involvement in the assassination of the intelligence officer Ali Abdul Kareem Fadhal al Ban, the director of Intelligence in the district of Tuban in Lahij province. Al Ban headed local investigations into al Qaeda suspects and separatists.
AUGUST 13: Officials in Lahij province said unidentified gunmen attacked and killed a security officer there.
AUGUST 9: Yemeni security forces arrested a man suspected of involvement with a suicide bomber who injured nine policemen in Dhaleh province.
AUGUST 6: Three unidentified masked gunmen killed three Yemeni security officers in an attack near an intelligence headquarters in Zinjibar in Abyan province. The gunmen rode up to the site on a motorcycle and opened fire on the officers before driving away. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, and local security forces are searching for the gunmen.
AUGUST 4: Unidentified gunmen fired on a car carrying the director general of Abyan province’s al Mavhad district. Yasslam al Anbori escaped the attack, but two men in his personal detail were killed and another was wounded.
AUGUST 3: A suicide bomber wounded at least eight people, including at least six police officers, in an attack on a police station in Dhaleh. Dhaleh’s deputy governor, Abdullah al Hadi, said the bomber “was on a motorbike wearing an explosive belt” and that he “blew himself up near the entrance of the province’s security headquarters. Hadi added that the attack “carries the fingerprints of al Qaeda.” Security officials in Dhaleh said on August 4 that a Southern Movement militant executed the suicide bombing. Authorities discovered the perpetrator was a soldier from Sana’a, Saleh Ali Hadi, and that he was not an al Qaeda operative as initially suspected.
AUGUST 2: Ali Salem al Beidh, the former vice president of Yemen and a Southern Movement leader, declared from Geneva that he will continue his non-violent struggle against the Yemeni government until it grants the south self-determination.
JULY 28: Militants were suspected to be behind three explosions that targeted the main police complex and two army posts in Dhaleh on Monday. Police Director General Ali al Haj was reportedly among the injured.
JULY 28: Tens of armed al Sabiha tribesmen reportedly blockaded the security office in Lahij province Monday demanding that three people accused of killing their fellow tribesmen be handed over and brought to justice.
JULY 27: Suspected Southern Movement separatists killed four and wounded 13 in two separate attacks Monday. In one incident, separatists ambushed a security patrol in Lahij, killing four soldiers and wounding nine others. Later Monday evening, secessionists attacked military sites in Dhaleh with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars, wounding a provincial security director and three soldiers.
JULY 23: Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al Qirbi said in an interview this week that public attention to Yemen’s security issues has diminished since January but that security problems remain an important issue—and are central to the country’s development. Qirbi also said that he does not believe the Southern Movement poses a danger of becoming an insurgency like the al Houthi movement in the north.
JULY 22: 163 Southern Movement separatists have been freed so far as part of a general amnesty announced by President Saleh on May 22.
JULY 20: Five people were injured, including three security personnel, after fighting erupted Monday in Dhaleh province between authorities and crowds that gathered to greet three Southern Movement detainees released on President Saleh’s orders.
JULY 19: Al Houthi officials announced their support Monday for an agreement signed Saturday between the government and the country’s political opposition groups to initiate a dialogue on political restructuring and “national unity.” As part of the agreement, the government agreed to an opposition demand for the release 27 Southern Movement detainees and 400 individuals linked with the northern al Houthi rebels.
JULY 8: A power station near Aden caught fire on Thursday. An official attributed the fire to a surge in voltage that resulted in an explosion; however, two other power stations were attacked earlier in the week by secessionists, according to the government.
JULY 7: Two demonstrators died and four were injured Wednesday when police attempted to break up the Southern Movement’s “day of rage” protests in Aden. The protests were planned to mark the 16th anniversary of the north’s invasion of southern Yemen.
JULY 6: Southern Movement leaders called for “a day of rage” this Wednesday in Aden to mark the 16th anniversary of the invasion of the south by northern forces.
JULY 2: A senior intelligence officer was shot and killed outside his home in Abyan province Thursday by two motorcycle gunmen.
JUNE 25: At least one Southern Movement separatist was killed by security forces in Aden after a firefight erupted during anti-government protests. Separatists were demonstrating the arrest of locals in a recent security crackdown.
JUNE 24: Four people were killed, three soldiers and a civilian, and eight others wounded in clashes in Dhaleh between security forces and Southern Movement separatists. The violence erupted earlier in the week when authorities launched a campaign to break the recent siege on military camps by armed locals.
JUNE 24: Southern Movement leader Hassan Baoum accused former People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen president Ali Salem al Beidh of sabotaging peaceful protests efforts by financing violent attacks.
JUNE 23: Three soldiers were killed in fighting between the army and Southern Movement militants in recent days in Dhaleh province. Separatists also reportedly attacked the house of Dhaleh’s provincial governor, bombarded a military post, and attempted to assassinate an intelligence officer on Tuesday.
JUNE 23: According to a recent study, 56 percent of al Qaeda members in Yemen are Yemenis. The analysis, by British terrorism expert Alistair Harris, found that a further 37 percent of members were Saudis and 7 percent were from other countries. Moreover, Yemeni recruits were found to be equally distributed between northern and southern tribes.
JUNE 21: Southern separatist militants attacked a Yemeni military patrol at al Azariq crossroads in Jahaf district of Dhaleh province on Sunday. Two soldiers died in the ambush and another was injured. Three militants were killed.
JUNE 21: The Yemeni government reached an agreement with the Southern Movement in Jehaf to lift its siege in Dhaleh province in exchange for the closure of military checkpoints in Thalaif and the withdrawal of troops from the Dar al Haid fortress.
JUNE 16: Activists are preparing to send a “peace convoy” to Dhaleh to protest recent violence in the south and to put pressure on the government to lift a blockade of the area. The convoy will reportedly involve 70 to 100 participants, including medics, lawyers, and civil society groups.
JUNE 15: Police and southern movement activists clashed in Dhaleh Tuesday during the funeral of four civilians killed on June 6. Eight people were reportedly wounded in the exchange of fire with authorities.
JUNE 13: Gunmen shot and killed senior security official Jalal al Uthmani on Saturday outside of his home in Abyan province. Sunday, two soldiers died in Dhaleh trying to defuse a bomb outside the gates of an army camp.
JUNE 10: President Ali Abdullah Saleh met with members of Parliament, the Shura Council, and officials of Lahij and Dhaleh provinces. The president urged an end to the violence and asked officials to help preserve national unity.
JUNE 10: Ten protestors were wounded Thursday when security forces opened fire at demonstrations in the south Yemen town of Dhaleh. Participants were reportedly protesting the deaths of five civilians earlier in the week, a result of skirmishes that broke out after security forces attempted to remove the flag of the former independent South that had been raised over the town’s main street.
JUNE 8: Ali Salem al Beidh urged the international community to protect residents in southern Yemen, a day after clashes in Dhaleh between the Yemeni army and secessionist rebels killed or wounded nearly two dozen people.
JUNE 7: Clashes between the Yemeni army and Southern Movement militants killed six and wounded 17 in Dhaleh on Monday. Security forces attempted to break a strike by the secessionists in the city center and locals report indiscriminate shelling of the city. The strike is held the first Monday of every month to “protest the blockade of Daleh [sic] imposed since the month of March, to demand the liberation of detainees, and to call for the independence of the south.”
JUNE 3: Militants from the Southern Movement gave northern workers an ultimatum to leave the Yafea district Lahij province by Thursday. However, local tribesman decried the move and indicated they would defend the workers, who are mostly from Ta’izz and Ibb.
JUNE 1: Southern militants attacked two convoys in separate attacks in Lahij province, killing three soldiers Friday. One incident occurred in Raha province, and the other in Jebeil Shams.
JUNE 1: The Yemeni Socialist Party, an opposition party with southern roots, appealed to the international community to pressure Yemen to “lift its siege” on southern provinces Dhaleh and Lahij.
MAY 27: Southern separatists killed one government soldier and wounded four others in an attack on a military vehicle in al Malah Thursday.
MAY 25: The Yemeni government released 300 rebels Monday—200 Houthis and 100 southern separatists—the first move after President Saleh promised amnesty to all militants in the spirit of Yemen’s unification anniversary.
MAY 24: Former Yemen Vice President Ali Salem al Beidh, speaking in exile from Germany, responded to President Saleh’s speech by calling for a UN investigation into government abuses in southern Yemen. He accused Saleh of trying to cleanse the secessionist movement through repression. Likewise, former PM Abu Bakr al Attas criticized the president’s speech, calling it a “failed shot” that offered no recognition or solution of the country’s problems. Al Attas, from exile in France, said the federal system should stay for four more years and set the stage for a referendum whereby South Yemen could legally secede.
MAY 24: A clash between forces from a pro-government tribe, al Maraqueshah, and Southern Movement militants killed at least two people in Ja’ar in Abyan province Sunday. The tribesman attacked the militants in retaliation for an ambush Saturday that killed one soldier and wounded another.
MAY 22: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh offered amnesty to the country’s Houthi rebels and southern separatists Friday and welcomed them to return to the political process in honor of the country’s 20th anniversary of unification. He also promised to release all prisoners currently held by the state belonging to both groups, as well as journalists.
MAY 20: The Security Director of al Dhaleh province, Ghazi Ahmed Ali, escaped an assassination attempt by two gunmen from the Southern Movement Tuesday. Security forces wounded and captured one of the assailants, but the other escaped.
MAY 19: A clash between Yemeni forces and southern secessionists in Lahij injured five, including two soldiers. Armed men attempted to break through a security cordon established in the wake of last week’s assassination attempt on the deputy prime minister.
MAY 17: The Yemeni government released 19 members of the separatist movement after they pledged in a petition to President Saleh that they would support the country’s unity.
MAY 15: Southern separatists killed one Yemeni soldier and wounded several others in a convoy ambush Saturday in the Lahij province. Authorities have closed the road.
MAY 13: Yemen’s Deputy Prime Minister for Internal Affairs escaped an assassination attempt Thursday, when gunmen opened fire on his convoy in Shabwah governorate. After a brief exchange of fire, the gunmen fled. No injuries were reported. The official, Sadiq Ameen Abu Ras, was returning from a celebration marking the 20th year of Yemeni unity.
MAY 13: President Saleh attended the first National Forum for Youths of Unity in Aden on Thursday to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Yemeni unity. In the speech, President Saleh underscored the strides the country had made since unifying in 1990.
MAY 13: The President also attended a local council meeting in Aden, in order to hear the issues concerning citizens of the city. He did not address the issue of separatism in the speech.
MAY 13: In a separate stop, President Saleh also pledged 29 billion Yemeni riyals towards the construction of services projects around the city. Aden is the largest city in southern Yemen, where separatist activity has increased in recent weeks.
MAY 11: A police officer died from his wounds after yesterday’s bombing in al Towahi Park in Aden. A general in Yemeni security forces, Abdullah al Thuraya, had previously died from wounds sustained in the bombing. Another police officer is still receiving treatment for his injuries in a hospital in Aden. The policemen were wounded while trying to defuse the bombs.
MAY 9: Two home-made bombs detonated in the southern Yemeni city of Aden on Sunday, injuring two people. The bombs exploded in a bank and a park, but it is unknown who planted the devices.
MAY 5: Southern separatists freed two Yemeni soldiers in Lahij after the government promised to resolve the issue of two jailed southern leaders, who were not released. The kidnappers had hoped to secure the release of the two leaders in exchange for the soldiers.
MAY 4: Three people were killed in Dhaleh in fighting between security forces and separatists. One of the dead men was a southern separatist while the other two are believed to be bystanders. Rioters in the city were protesting the government’s decision to raise fuel prices.
MAY 3: Gunmen killed a man in a qat market during a separatist rally in Dhaleh governorate on Monday. Two others were wounded in the shooting. In a separate incident in Dhaleh, gunmen from the Southern Movement opened fire on the governorate building in the city.
MAY 1: Southern secessionists kidnapped two Yemeni soldiers Saturday in Lahij governorate as they returned to their barracks. The secessionists are demanding the release of two southern leaders in return for the soldiers, saying that they would kill the hostages if the leaders were not released in 48 hours.
MAY 1: The Yemeni government has demanded the surrender of 50 “outlaws” wanted for murder and attacks on civilians in southern Yemen. The list, which was posted on the government’s website, urged the Southern Movement to hand over the fugitives to the proper authorities.
APRIL 29: Yemeni police dispersed a rally in Lahij organized by the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP), the main opposition party to the government. Five protesters were injured and over ten were arrested as police fired live ammunition to break up the demonstration.
APRIL 24: Four southern separatists were each sentenced to 10 years in jail for “harming national unity.” The four were convicted on charges ranging from “instigating armed rebellion” to “mobilizing people to disobey constitutional authorities.”
APRIL 22: Yemeni security personnel arrested the imam of a mosque in Dhaleh after he reportedly refused to let the soldiers on the roof to fire on protestors. Imam Adel al Jaadi said in a statement that he did not let the soldiers in because they would interfere with the women praying at the mosque.
APRIL 22: Police opened fire on a crowd of protestors attempting to force their way into a hospital in Dhaleh to recover the body of an activist killed earlier this month. Two demonstrators were wounded in the gunfire as they tried to remove the body of Abdulalim Ali Saleh from al Nasr hospital.
APRIL 20: Around 30 Yemeni political prisoners in Hadramawt have gone on a hunger strike to protest their continued incarceration after having received a pardon from President Saleh earlier this month. The prisoners are alleged being jailed for rioting and arson. Local prison officials claim that all of the prisoners had been released except those involved in violent acts.
APRIL 19: According to a report by the Interior Ministry to the parliament, 18 people have been killed and 120 injured by violence in southern Yemen this year. The unrest was primarily centered in the city of Dhaleh, as well as Lahij and Abyan governorates.
APRIL 15: A car bomb killed a former Army officer in the southern Yemeni port town of Aden. Southern separatist sentiment is very strong in Aden, where protests against the government have occurred in recent weeks.
APRIL 15: Two protestors were wounded when police fired into a crowd of demonstrators on Thursday in Dhaleh. The protestors were participating in a weekly demonstration to demand the release of political protestors arrested in separatist demonstrations.
APRIL 15: The Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) organized rallies throughout southern Yemen on Thursday. Thousands gathered in Sana’a, as well as Taiz and al Jawf to protest the government and demand the release of all political prisoners detained during demonstrations in the southern governorates.
APRIL 12: Protests against the government continued on Monday in Dhaleh as a general strike shut down all economic activity in the city. Two explosions were heard near schools with no reported casualties. Gunfire was also heard sporadically throughout the city. Additional protests were held on Sunday in Dhaleh, Lahij, Abyan, and Aden.
APRIL 8: An explosion wounded two during protests Thursday in the southern Yemeni town of Dhaleh. Elsewhere in the city police fired in the air to disperse crowds gathering to demand southern Yemen’s independence. Protests were also held in Habilain in Lahij governorate, and in Lawdar and Mudiyah in Abyan governorate.
ARPIL 8: President Saleh ordered the release of rioters in Mukulla in Hadramawt governorate. He said the men, who had been jailed for “outlawed acts,” would be freed on good faith.
APRIL 7: 10 southern separatists have been arrested over the past two days in the southern governorate of Lahij. The southern movement called for a general strike and civil disobedience in Lahij and Dhaleh on Monday from 6 AM to 6 PM.
APRIL 6: President Saleh met with leaders in Hadramawt governorate to discuss how best to address the problems facing the region. In response to a question about freeing separatist detainees, President Saleh said that the government is not against the freedom expression, but rather against those who violate the constitution and damage property. President Saleh also announced the launch of 163 projects in the governorate valued at 32 billion Yemeni rials.
APRIL 5: A southern activist, Naji bin Naji, and his son were killed on their qat farm in Dhaleh by a suspected member of Yemen’s security forces on Monday. Following the death of the separatist, clashes broke out between separatists north of the city. In a separate incident, a policeman was killed as he stood guard at a checkpoint in Shabwah governorate.
APRIL 5: A general strike by southern secessionists took place in Dhaleh, Habilain in Lahij governorate, and Lawder and Mudiyah in Abyan governorate.
APRIL 4: In an interview with al Jazeera, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh said that Yemeni unity will exist forever and that media reports over unrest in the southern governorates are exaggerated.
APRIL 2: Tariq al Fadhli, one of the major leaders of the southern movement, has ended his truce with the Yemeni government signed last month. Al Fadhli announced he was ending the truce on Friday after Yemeni security forces tried to arrest him at his home in Zinjibar. Supporters of al Fadhli were able to push back security forces to prevent his arrest.
APRIL 1: At least 30 jailed southern secessionists escaped from a prison in Dhaleh after a bomb exploded at the site. Two policemen and three detainees were wounded by the bomb blast. Police accused the detained secessionists of throwing the bomb, while the prisoners alleged that the police threw it. The prisoners escaped in the chaos following the blast.
MARCH 31: The Joint Meeting Parties’ headquarters in Dhaleh was attacked by government forces on Wednesday. Saada al Reiba, the head of the JMP in Dhaleh, said that the targeting of the headquarters was a clear sign of disunity within the government. The JMP headquarters in Dhaleh has been subject to several government raids in the past.
MARCH 30: Two southern activists were sentenced to jail on Tuesday for “harming the national unity.” Fadi Hassan Ahmed Baoum, a leader of the southern movement, was sentenced to five years in prison, while Hussain Mothanna al Aqil, a professor at Aden University, received a three year sentence.
MARCH 30: According to a report by Sahwa Net, the spokesman for the southern movement was injured in a shootout with police in Dhaleh on Tuesday. The name of the spokesman was not released. A Yemeni soldier was also wounded in the incident.
MARCH 28: 20 protesters were wounded in the southern Yemeni city of Dhaleh when police broke up a demonstration marking the funeral of another protester killed last week. Police reportedly fired directly into a crowd of protesters, causing the injuries. In addition, local officials were arrested, including the director of the Social and Labor Affairs Office and the director of the Education Office.
MARCH 27: The former Yemeni ambassador to Mauritania, Kasem Askar, was sentenced on Saturday to five years in prison after calling for southern Yemen to secede. Askar has been in police custody since April of last year when he was arrested on charges of separatist activity.
MARCH 27: Security forces were reportedly arresting doctors in the southern Yemeni city of Dhaleh on Saturday in an effort to prevent them from treating wounded protesters. Dhaleh has been the scene of large demonstrations to demand the secession of southern Yemen. Sources reportedly saw security forces enter a local hospital and arrest two doctors.
MARCH 27: In an interview with the pan-Arab daily al Hayat, President Saleh said Yemen was capable of overcoming all the current challenges facing the country. He went on to describe the current separatist movement in southern Yemen as limited and unable to succeed. He further claimed that the majority of those living in the south were pro-unity.
MARCH 24: The owner and editor of the independent newspaper al Ayyam was freed on Wednesday from a prison after nearly three months in captivity. Hisham Bashraheel was arrested on January 6th this year when government forces raided his newspaper’s offices for allegedly sympathizing with southern separatists. Al Ayyam was one of eight daily newspapers forcibly closed in southern Yemen for fomenting unrest against the government.
MARCH 23: Two leaders of the Yemeni southern secessionist movement were sentenced to prison terms on Tuesday. Ahmed Bamualem, a former Member of Parliament, was sentenced to 10 years in jail, while retired general Ali Mohammed al Saadi was given 15 months in prison. Both were charged with working against national unity and calling for southern secession.
MARCH 20: Two protesters that had been wounded in clashes with police in Dhaleh last Thursday, died on Saturday from their injuries. The protesters were participating in a rally for “Detainee Day” when they were fired upon by the police. In a separate incident, 50 prisoners in Mukallah in Hadramawt have gone on a hunger strike to protest their detainment for three years without a trial.
MARCH 18: Hundreds gathered to protest in Taiz following the deaths of two prison guards. The guards were killed by an escaped prisoner and several compatriots while he was being transported to the hospital. Protesters gathered to denounce what they viewed as corruption within the prison system that allows prisoners to escape.
MARCH 18: One protester was killed and three wounded as crowds gathered to demonstrate in the southern city of Dhaleh. Protesters were gathering to celebrate “southern prisoners’ day,” when government security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition into the crowd. The city has been under a tight security cordon for the past several weeks to quell separatist activity.
MARCH 18: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has ordered that the Ministry of Information return confiscated transmitters to al Jazeera and al Arabiya. The transmitters were originally seized last week to prevent the networks from reporting on the unrest in the south of the country. The government stated that the coverage was biased and had exacerbated the situation.
MARCH 17: Large explosions were reported in Dhaleh, sparking a new round of violence between government security forces and armed separatist gangs. Reports indicate that many of the clashes took place near government military facilities near the entrances to the city and in the suburbs. Dhaleh has been under tight security for the past several weeks due to large secessionist demonstrations within the city.
MARCH 16: A series of blasts in Aden has prompted the Yemeni government to send a large contingent of troops to the city. A local official said the explosions were likely caused by firebombs, while other local media sources described the blasts as coming from grenades. Witnesses said that five separate blasts occurred between 10:30 and 11:00 on Monday night. There were no reports of deaths or injuries.
MARCH 14: A separatist rebel was killed Sunday by Yemeni security forces at a security checkpoint in Abyan governorate following an exchange of gunfire.
MARCH 12: Yemeni authorities seize broadcasting equipment from al Jazeera and al Arabiya to prevent them from covering the unrest in the south of the country.
MARCH 11: Security forces recaptured government building in Tor al Baha, killing one separatist rebel and one civilian passer-by in the process.
MARCH 11: Separatist demonstrations in Dhaleh resulted in government forces killing two protesters. Additional protests took place in Lahij, Taiz, and Sana’a.
MARCH 9: President Saleh offered dialogue with the separatists.
MARCH 9: Government shuts down cell phone service in Dhaleh and Lahij governorates. Additional curfew imposed in Dhaleh.
MARCH 8: 27 separatists were arrested across Lahij, Abyan and Dhaleh governorates. Thirteen of the suspects arrested were accused of destroying property in the Hawta district of Lahij governorate. The eight arrested in Abyan were charged with murder and highway robbery, while the remaining six were arrested in Dhaleh for participating in separatist rallies and allegedly shooting at security forces.
MARCH 8: Governors of Lahij, Abyan and Dhaleh demanded al Jazeera close its offices in the country for stirring southern unrest.
MARCH 6: Three soldiers were killed and dozens wounded in clash between government forces and separatists in Dhaleh. At least 20 separatist protesters were arrested following the violence.
MARCH 4: A protester was killed in Radfan in Lahij governorate as he reportedly tried to replace Yemeni flag with the flag of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen. In a separate incident in Mayfah in Shabwah governorate, two policemen were killed by separatists.
MARCH 4: Ali Salem Beidh, former president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, called on southerners to come to the defense of Tariq al Fadhli: “I call on all sons of the south…to come to the aid of Fadhli and go to Zinjibar and lift the siege.”
MARCH 4: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs said that the southern secessionist movement was an internal matter for Yemen to handle.
MARCH 3: Security forces surround Tariq al Fadhli’s house after a shootout in Zinjibar.
MARCH 3: Ali Salem Beidh, former president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, said that the unity government in Yemen has failed.
MARCH 3: President Saleh met with Turkish Foreign Minister in a sign of Turkish support for Yemeni unity.
MARCH 1: In Zinjibar, Abyan, a dawn raid on separatists resulted in two policemen killed and one injured, according to the government, or three policemen dead and five wounded according to locals. Two “fugitives” were killed, including Ali al Yafie, of whom government forces say had links to al Qaeda.
MARCH 1: Additional reports stated that al Yafie’s wife and two children were also killed in the attack.
FEBRUARY 28: Large demonstrations continued in Abyan, Dhaleh, and Lahij governorates.
FEBRUARY 28: Tear gas and live ammunition were used against demonstrators in Dhaleh, where mobile phone service was cut off. 21 separatists were arrested.
FEBRUARY 27: A curfew and ban on carrying weapons in Dhaleh was imposed in order to prevent separatist violence.
FEBRUARY 27: Large demonstrations conducted in Abyan, Dhaleh, Lahij (Hawta and al Habilain), and Hadramawt (Mukallah) governorates.
FEBRUARY 26: Former president of the People’s Democratic Republic of Yemen, Ali Salem al Beidh, called for “two days of southern anger” to coincide with Saleh’s visit to GCC meeting to ask for funds.
FEBRUARY 25: A 45 year police officer was shot and killed in an ambush while riding his motorcycle in Zinjibar. The officer had received threatening letters prior to his death.
FEBRUARY 23: Guard in al Maflahi district court in Lahij killed by Taher Tamah gang.
FEBRUARY 22: Over 80 protesters arrested in Lahij governorate after separatists tried to control the main road between the al Hawta and Aden.
FEBRUARY 22: Southern separatists killed a Yemeni soldier in Hubeel Jubari district of Dhaleh.
FEBRUARY 19: Separatists killed the local director of the criminal investigations unit in an ambush on his vehicle in Dhaleh governorate. His guard was also killed, and three other policemen were injured in the shooting.
FEBRUARY 19: 16 people were detained on charges of illegal separatist activity in Lahij, Dhaleh, and Hadramawt.
FEBRUARY 17: Tariq al Fadhli called for southern secessionist intifada to be launched on February 20.
FEBRUARY 16: Security forces arrested 72 “outlaws” in Lahij governorate.
FEBRUARY 16: President Saleh said Tuesday that calls for secession and the display of anti-unity logos are considered felonies. In a separate speech given at the Central Security Camp in Sana’a, President Saleh said there would be no leniency for those disturbing public order.
FEBRUARY 14: Separatists aligned with Tariq Tamah and Ali Saif Mohammed fired automatic weapons and RPGs at a military contingent in both Jabal Khanfar and Ja’ar.
FEBRUARY 13: Protestor killed at a demonstration in Lahij (Abdullah Muhammad al Baqery) and six others injured trying to take the body away from the Ibn Khaldoun hospital in Hawta. In Shabwah, a soldier (Mansour al Daheri) was killed and three others injured when gunmen opened fire.
FEBRUARY 1: Southern separatist leader Tariq al Fadhli raised the American flag at his home in Zinjibar in Abyan governorate to signal his rejection of al Qaeda.