Eid al-Adha celebrations marred by clashes in Yemen as 40 killed, 260 injured

'It is heart-breaking that during Eid al-Adha, families are mourning the death of their loved ones instead of celebrating together in peace and harmony,' said UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande.

Fight broke out in the city of Aden

Fighting between pro-government forces and separatists in Yemen's second city Aden has killed around 40 people and injured 260 others including civilians, the UN said Sunday. It did not specify the target but residents in Aden claims, that it was an airstrike against separatist camps in the city.

"Scores of civilians have been killed and wounded since August 8 when fighting broke out in the city of Aden. Preliminary reports indicate that as many as 40 people have been killed and 260 injured," a UN statement said.


Celebration turned into oblivion

"It is heart-breaking that during Eid al-Adha, families are mourning the death of their loved ones instead of celebrating together in peace and harmony," UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen Lise Grande said.

"Our main concern right now is to dispatch medical teams to rescue the injured," she said


Shortage of basic supplies

"We are also very worried by reports that civilians trapped in their homes are running out of food and water," Yemen Lise Grande added, urging the belligerents to protect civilians. 

Families need to be able to move freely and safely, to secure the things they need to survive."We are asking authorities to guarantee unimpeded access for humanitarian organisations," she said.


Clashes between Yemeni government and combatants

The clashes flared on Wednesday between fighters of the Saudi-backed Yemeni government and combatants from the so-called Security Belt trained by the United Arab Emirates who are dominated by separatists seeking independent south.

The government of Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi is backed by a Saudi-led military coalition that includes the UAE as a key partner in the fight against Iran-aligned Shiite Huthi rebels.


Coalition for the ceasefire

The southern port city of Aden has been the base of the Hadi government since it was driven from the capital Sanaa by the rebels more than four years ago.

The coalition has called for a ceasefire and an "urgent meeting" between the warring parties.


No negotiation under threat

Both the Yemeni government and separatists said early Sunday they backed Riyadh's call for dialogue and a suspension of fighting.

But in a sermon to mark the start of the Muslim Eid al-Adha festival, Southern Transitional Council (STC) vice president Hani bin Breik said his group, which is seeking secession will not "negotiate under threat".


World's worst humanitarian crisis

The Security Belt Force is dominated by fighters who back the STC, which seeks to restore south Yemen as an independent state as it was from 1967-1990.

The International Crisis Group think tank warned that the Aden clashes "threaten to tip southern Yemen into a civil war within a civil war." "Such a conflict would deepen what is already the world's worst humanitarian crisis," it said.


Efforts to de-escalate

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan said Abu Dhabi was "exerting all efforts to de-escalate the situation", Emirati state media reported.

The two camps should focus their efforts on fighting the Huthis instead of each other, he said