12 killed as Houthis, gov't forces clash in Yemen's southern Aden port

The southern Yemeni city of Aden is seen here

Gunmen were deployed throughout most districts of Aden on Sunday and there was heavy automatic gunfire and explosions in the southern port city, according to Reuters witnesses.

The separatists have long campaigned for the secession of southern Yemen.

The government urged the Saudi-led military coalition, which has been supporting Hadi against Iran-backed Houthi rebels who control much of the north, to intervene.

The separatist Southern Transitional Council had planned a rally for Sunday to demand that the country's internationally recognised president, Abdrabu Mansur Hadi, sack his cabinet.

At least six people, including four from pro-government forces, were killed and dozens wounded, the sources said.

The port city has now turned into a scene where Saudi Arabia and the UAE, members of a Riyadh-led coalition that is waging a war on Yemen, are competing for influence.

"In Sanaa, there has been a consolidation of the coup d'etat, and here in Aden, there is a coup against the legitimate authorities and the project of the federal state", Daghr said on Facebook.

"Those in southern part of city, including (ICRC staff) still unable to get out".

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Meanwhile, Yemen President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi ordered his forces to cease-fire immediately in interim capital Aden after fierce clashes with southern separatists.

The separatists accused the prime minister of ordering his troops to open fire at the protesters.

Mr Hadi's government announced a ban on public gatherings on Saturday, as thousands of the Southern Transitional Council's supporters arrived in Aden ahead of the rally.

Former Aden Gov. Aidarous al-Zoubeidi formed the council in May after Hadi fired him.

Aden, Yemen's second largest city, used to be the capital of the once independent South Yemen before unification in 1990.

Medical sources said around 20 people have been killed and injured in ongoing clashes between the two sides.

The coalition also imposed air and sea blockade to prevent weapons from reaching Houthis, who had invaded the capital Sanaa militarily and seized most of the northern Yemeni provinces. The two groups had been united throughout Yemen's three-year civil war against the Iranian backed Houthis in the north, However, the conflicts could hinder the efforts of the coalition to control the Iranian expansion plans in Yemen.

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