On Saturday, July 18, thousands of people took part in a pro-separatist protest in Mukalla, the capital of Hadhramaut Governorate. Hadhramaut is held by government forces, and the rally is believed to be a show of strength by the separatist Southern Transitional Council (STC). The protest comes as government and STC representatives meet in Riyadh to discuss a power-sharing deal.
Further pro-separatist protests in Hadhramaut are a possibility in the near-term.
Yemen is engaged in a complex conflict, ongoing since Houthi rebels entered into a civil war with the Yemeni government, supported by a Saudi-led coalition, in 2015. Nominally allies against the Houthi, the STC since August 2019 has frequently clashed with government forces over the rule of southern Yemen. Although there have been attempts to broker an agreement between the two, tensions have increased since the STC declared self-rule on Aden and other key southern provinces in April 2020.
Due to poor security conditions, many Western governments strongly advise their citizens against all travel to Yemen. Travel to the country should only be considered with proper security protocols in place. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to travel.
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