Commander of UAE-backed fighting force killed in Yemen

Yemen’s UAE-backed ‘Security Belt’ force was set up two years ago to help fight Shia Houthi group

By Shukri Hussein  

SANAA, Yemen

A senior commander of Yemen’s UAE-backed Security Belt (Hezam al-Amni) force was killed by a car bomb on Wednesday in Yemen’s southern Abyan province, according to a local source who spoke to Anadolu Agency. 

Yemen’s Security Belt force was established in 2015 by a decree issued by President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, who heads up Yemen’s internationally recognized government.

Backed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the force is now deployed in and around Yemen’s southern Aden province, where the government maintains its interim capital. 

The local source, who preferred anonymity due to security concerns, told Anadolu Agency that Lieutenant-Colonel Ayad bin Suhail al-Yafei, commander of the UAE-backed force, “was killed today [Wednesday] by an explosive device planted in his vehicle”. 

The same source said that the incident, which also left three of al-Yafei’s bodyguards injured, had taken place in the city of Moudiya in Abyan province.

Last month, forces loyal to President Hadi, in coordination with a Saudi-led military coalition (that includes the UAE), took control of Moudiya, which had hitherto been seen as an Al-Qaeda stronghold.