The National Council of Shabwa issued a statement and has given the government loyal to former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his officials in the province three days to hand over power to the Council, which will run Shabwa until a local government can be established.
SHABWA, YEMEN — Shabwa governorate, an oil-producing province in eastern Yemen, announced its independence from Yemen on Wednesday. A national council headed by the Chairman of the People’s Assembly of the Sons of Shabwa, Ahmed Musaed Hussein, has been reportedly formed to manage the affairs of the province.
The National Council issued a statement and has given the government loyal to former Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi and his officials in the province three days to hand over power to the Council, which will run Shabwa until a local government can be established. There has been no comment yet from Hadi’s government.
Last month, the National Council formed its own security force called the “Shabwa,” led by Major General Ahmed Musaed Hussein, and promised that all those who have been given a deadline will be expelled from Shabwa by force if they do not meet the deadline, according to the statement by the group.
Since the war on Yemen began in 2015, the United Arab Emirates has supported the creation of paramilitary groups in southern Yemen, including in Shabwa, Aden, Lahj, Abyan, Hadramout, Mahara and Socotra. Most of the groups, thought to number around 30,000 members total, share the same Salafi (Wahhabi) ideology as ISIS and al-Qaeda.
The National Council has also granted foreign oil companies in the province, including French oil giant Total, seven days to hand over control of local oil installations, promising to use 30 percent of the oil revenue it earns to care for the province’s poor.
The province of Shabwa contains Yemen’s largest natural gas reserves and is home to the port of Balha natural gas refinery, which is under UAE control. The province also produces over 100,000 barrels of oil per day.
Top Photo | In this photo, posted on Twitter, residents in the Shabwa province gather to celebrate their declaration of independence from the Saudi-allied government. Twitter | @fahadalkhlefi
Ahmed AbdulKareem is a Yemeni journalist. He covers the war in Yemen for MintPress News as well as local Yemeni media.