Sana’a, Asharq Al-Awsat—Yemen authorities loyal to President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi said on Tuesday they had foiled a mutiny by soldiers guarding the president’s residence in Aden.
Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, a Yemen presidential source said officers from Yemen’s Special Forces, tasked with guarding Hadi’s residence in the southwestern port city of Aden, clashed with the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a collection of pro-Hadi militias, in what appears to be a failed military coup.
The soldiers who are loyal to the former head of the Republican Guard (now Special Forces) Brig. Gen. Ahmed Saleh—son of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh—failed to enter the palace after they were repelled by militants loyal to Hadi, the source added.
Hadi removed Ahmed Saleh from his position in 2013, a year after Hadi replaced Ahmed’s father Ali Abdullah Saleh as the president.
Hadi responded by taking steps aimed at relieving the Special Forces of their duties of guarding his residence and other government buildings in Aden, the source added, a task he assigned to the loyalist PRC.
Eyewitnesses in Aden told Asharq Al-Awsat that the PRC now control over 90 percent of the southern city.
Aden has witnessed fierce battles between PRC militias and the pro-Houthi Special Forces over control of government buildings in the last two weeks that preceded Hadi’s arrival on Saturday.
Hadi retracted his earlier resignation on Saturday after escaping from the capital Sana’a where he was being held under virtual house arrest in his residence by the Shi’ite Houthi rebel movement. The Houthis overran the capital in September, 2014.
The president is taking steps to form an interim government to run the country from the southern city of Aden, a stronghold of anti-Houthi southern secessionists, sources earlier told Asharq Al-Awsat.
Following Hadi’s escape to Aden, the Houthi Revolutionary Committee, which controls Sana’a, referred Hadi to the public prosecutor over alleged offences he committed during the time he served as president, Yemen official sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
“[The Revolutionary Committee] discussed several offences committed by Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi during his term as president before it decided to refer them to the public prosecutor to act in accordance with law,” Yemen official sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.
The committee issued a statement previously declaring Hadi a “fugitive from justice,” warning to hold to account anyone who deals with him.
According to analysts who spoke to Asharq Al-Awsat the legal measures the Houthis have taken against Hadi “reflect the state of confusion and failure [the Houthis] are experiencing.”
In comments to Asharq Al-Awsat, well-known Yemeni political analyst Abdo Salem said: “President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi possesses constitutional legitimacy as the elected president. This legitimacy will not expire until an alternative president is elected.”