Yemeni pro-government forces detaining and expelling 'northerners' from Aden

Yemeni pro-government forces detaining and expelling 'northerners' from Aden
Yemeni officials have claimed that possible southern separatist fighters in Aden are expelling and detaining hundreds of civilians from northern Yemen, as the country's civil war rages on.
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Yemen is becoming fragmented along religious, tribal and regional lines [AFP]

Yemeni fighters have detained and evicted hundreds of civilians from the north in the southern city of Aden, Yemeni officials said Sunday.

Shops, restaurants and homes had been raided by militias fighting alongside Yemeni government forces, with more than 2,000 northerners arrested.

The pro-government militias have claimed the northerners pose a threat to "security".

Anonymous officials said they suspect the evictions are the work of secessionists who want southern Yemen to break away from the north, with which it was united in 1990.

These reports chime with an earlier The New Arab story, when it was reported that hundreds of "undocumented" civilians from northern Yemen had been expelled from Aden.

Aden was among the first cities where forces of the internationally-recognised government drove out Zaydi-Shia rebels - known as Houthis - and their backers who are based mostly in the north.

The coastal city of Aden remains a stronghold for the government and has been a launchpad for offensives further north. However, the city is also thought to be run by myriad of militias.

Yemen's war has pitted a loose coalition of pro-government forces - backed by a Saudi-led coalition - against the Zaydi-Shia Houthi rebels and their allies.

Fighting and air raids from the Saudi-led coalition have killed at least 6,800 people and forced millions from their homes.

Some of the heaviest bombing has been in Saada in northern Yemen, the spiritual home of the Houthi movement.

On the same day of the announcement, the United Arab Emirates said its forces delivered the first 20 tons of medical aid to civilians in al-Mukalla, which lies not far from Aden, on Yemen's southern coast. 

The city had been held by al-Qaeda militants until last month when UAE and US troops captured the city and flushed the fighters out. 

The US is aiding Yemeni, Emirati and other Arab coalition forces that are battling al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, as the group's affiliate in Yemen is known.