Wave of assassinations strikes Aden

The wave of killings started Dec. 1 when unknown masked gunmen shot dead the director of the Criminal Investigation Agency, Maj. Salah al-Hujaili, in front of his home in the Mansoura district of Aden. The agency is affiliated with the Yemeni Ministry of Interior.

Although no group claimed responsibility for the assassination, a journalist close to Hadi’s government, Adel al-Hassani, accused the UAE-backed STC of killing Hujaili, who had threatened to reveal details about UAE secret prisons. However, an STC source told Al-Monitor that Hujaili supported the STC.

Hujaili had survived an assassination attempt in January 2016 that involved the use of an improvised explosive device planted in his car in Aden. No side claimed responsibility for the attack back then.

Aref al-Yafee, a political analyst based in Kuwait, told Al-Monitor that the return of the killings “is linked to the conflict between the disputing parties in Aden, namely [forces loyal to] the government in the city’s northern parts, specifically the Muslim Brotherhood’s arm in Yemen [Islah Party] on the one hand, and the STC in the southern parts of the city on the other.

The UAE has designated the Islah Party as a terrorist group. Meanwhile, the STC accuses the Islah Party of participating in the 1994 war with fighters and religious fatwas that brought about destruction and the looting of property.

Other incidents in Aden saw the killings of six people, including commanders, soldiers and citizens. Among those killed was Capt. Mohammed Saleh, a security commander in the Security Belt Forces, the STC’s armed wing, who was shot dead by gunmen near his house in Mansoura district. It was the only operation the Islamic State claimed responsibility for.

There have been conflicting reports about which side the victims belong to, except for Saleh.

Yafee said he thinks these killings aim “to empty Aden of the security and military cadres, specifically those supporting the STC.”

source: Al Monitor