Yemen Separatists Hold Protest in Oil-Rich Hadhramaut Province

Thousands of people protested today in Mukalla, the provincial capital of Yemen’s oil-rich Hadhramaut province, in support of southern separatists.

The protesters, who carried the flags of the former South Yemen republic and pictures of the leaders of the UAE-backed separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC), demanded the implementation of the self-rule announced by the STC in April. Ahmed Saeed bin Buraik, chief of the STC, said in a televised speech that they will not retreat from self-rule and the goal of acquiring independence of the south, which united with the north in 1990. He also said that the STC will make its best efforts to implement self-rule in the province.

Hadhramaut is under forces loyal to the government and the rally by the separatists is a signal that they have strong presence in the strategic province.

This protest comes as both the government and STC continue their negotiations in the Saudi capital to implement the power-sharing deal signed in November which states that the STC be included in the government. President Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi demanded that the STC withdraw its self-rule announcement before the formation of a new cabinet, as the Riyadh peace deal requires.

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