Gunfight erupts in southern Yemen, one civilian killed - witnesses

DUBAI (Reuters) - A gunfight erupted briefly in Aden on Saturday when a contingent loyal to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi refused to hand over its positions to a local force, security sources said, and witnesses said one civilian was killed in the incident.

The clash underscores the complex situation in Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is fighting a 2-1/2 year war against Iran-aligned Houthis who control most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

Witnesses said the shooting occurred in al-Arish on the Aden Abyan road, when a group of Hadi’s Presidential Protection Forces refused to obey an order to hand over a checkpoint to the Security Belt, a force set up by the United Arab Emirates, a key member of the Saudi-led coalition.

A security source described the incident as a “mutiny” although it was soon brought to an end.

“The mutiny has ended and the situation is under control,” the source told Reuters.

The local Aden al-Ghad newspaper quoted the commander of the force, Brigadier-General Tareq Ali Hadi, as saying the incident arose from fear that forces under his command would be discharged without any compensation.

Witnesses traveling on the road said a military helicopter from the coalition engaged the forces at a checkpoint during the clash.

They said one civilian was killed when he was caught in the crossfire, while three members of his family were injured by shrapnel from a rocket fired by an Apache helicopter that struck a nearby house.

Yemen has been torn by war since 2015, when Houthi forces backed by government troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh advanced on Aden, forcing Hadi to flee to Saudi Arabia.

Reporting by Sami Aboudi; Editing by Hugh Lawson