Military Wiki
South Yemen insurgency
South Yemen.png
Governorates which previously formed the People's Democratic Republic of Yemen in Red
Date27 April 2009 (2009-04-27)–present
(13 years and 2 months)
LocationSouth Yemen
Status Ongoing


Pro-government tribes[1]
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen South Yemen Movement
Southern Resistance[2]
Flag of al-Qaeda in Iraq.svg Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula
Commanders and leaders

Yemen Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi
Yemen Ahmed Saleh
Yemen Ali Mohammed Mujur
Yemen Muhammad Nasir Ahmad Ali

Yemen Abdullah al-Thuraya

People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Hassan Baoum* #
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Fawaz Baoum* #
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Tahir Tamah
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Tareq al-Fadhli
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Ali Salim al-Beidh
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Yasin Said Numan
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Ali Saleh al-Yafee
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Ahmed Bamualem #
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Ali al-Saadi #
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Ali Saif Mohammed
People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Mohsin al Twairah

People's Democratic Republic of Yemen Abbas Tanba
Casualties and losses

254 killed[3]
1,900 injured[3]

(Government claim)

1,300 killed[4]

500+ Detained (over 350 released)[5][6]
  • Released

The South Yemen insurgency is a term used by the Yemeni government to describe the protests and attacks on government forces in southern Yemen, ongoing since 27 April 2009 on South Yemen's independence day. Although the violence has been blamed on elements within the southern secessionist movement, leaders of the group maintain that their aims of independence are to be achieved through peaceful means, and claim that attacks are from ordinary citizens in response to the government's provocative actions. The insurgency comes amid the Shia insurgency in the country's north. Southern leaders led a brief, unsuccessful secession in 1994 following unification. Many of them are involved in the present secession movement. Southern separatist insurgents are active mainly in the area of the former South Yemen, but also in Ad Dali' Governorate, which was not a part of the independent southern state.[7]


In 1990, North Yemen and South Yemen united into one country, but in 1994, South Yemeni army units staged an armed revolt against what they considered corrupt crony state rule by North Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. The revolt however failed as Saleh enlisted Salafi and Jihadist forces to fight against Southern forces of the Yemeni Socialist Party. However, after 15 years, in 2009, prominent Southern Islamist leader Tariq al-Fadhli, who had fought for the Mujahideen in Afghanistan against the Soviet war in Afghanistan, broke his alliance with President Saleh to join the secessionist South Yemen Movement, which gave new power to movement, in which al-Fadhli became a prominent figure. That same month, on 28 April, a revolt in the South started, with massive demonstrations in most major towns.[8]


The political movement behind the so-called 'insurgency' is a group called the South Yemen Movement. Led by exiled South Yemeni leaders and opposition figures, this group calls for peaceful protests. However, their protests have recently often turned into riots, some with armed fighters. The insurgency has occasionally been linked by the Yemeni government to Islamist groups, including ex-military commanders and South-Yemeni tribes. South Yemen is home to several jihadist movements, some of which are believed to be affiliated with al-Qaeda, most notably a group called the Aden-Abyan Islamic Army. Naser al-Wahishi the leader of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula expressed support for the South Yemeni separatist movement.[9] However leaders of the South Yemen Movement were quick to deny any links with al-Qaeda.[10] Many believe that Saleh's government is using al-Qaeda as a means to win international support against insurgencies in the North and South.[11] As a response to such accusations, Tariq al-Fadhli - one of the leaders of the southern movement - posted a video of himself on YouTube raising the American flag with the national anthem over his compound in an attempt to openly distance himself from Al-Qaeda.[12]

There are many leaders within the movement, including Fadi Hassan Ahmed Baoum who is head of the South Yemen Movement's Supreme Council. He was arrested and later released by Yemeni authorities. Meanwhile Tahir Tamah has been said to be behind the group's militant faction.[6]


2009-2010 Insurgency

  • 28 April 2009, 14 people are injured and 1 soldier is killed as separatist militants attack a checkpoint in Mukalla, this was the 7th soldier to be killed in South Yemen secessionist violence.[13]
  • 3 May, one man is killed and 4 are injured in a bomb blast carried out by separatist militia.[14]
  • 4 May 2009, armed South-Yemeni protesters ambushed a military base in the South, killing 1 soldier.[15]
  • 8 June 2009, 2 people were killed and 4 were wounded during protests in the South, bringing total casualties to 11 soldiers and 11 others killed.[16][17]
  • 25 July 2009, 1 person was killed and 4 injured as protesters clash with police in Dhaleh.[18]
  • 28 July 2009, 4 Yemeni soldiers are killed as armed men attack a government checkpoint in the south. It was said supporters of Tareq al-Fadhli, an Islamist leader who called for protests in response for the death of 16 people at a separatist rally, were responsible[18]
  • 25 October 2009, gunmen ambushed a vehicle carrying the body of a soldier killed in Sa'dah, the ambush kills 2 soldiers and injures 3.[19]
  • 1 November 2009, armed rebels attack the headquarters of security corps in Abyan Governorate, killing 1 soldier and kidnapping Deputy Governor of Abyan, Adel Hamoud al-Sabri.[20]
  • 25 November 2009, clashes between Yemeni security forces and demonstrators left five people, including 2 soldiers dead and 10 people injured.[21]
  • 10 January 2010 South Yemenis launched a general strike and staged large protests against what they called oppression by Ali Abdullah Saleh's regime.[22]
  • 24 January 2010, in the southern province of Shabwa, in Yemen, three members of Yemen's security forces were killed after an attack on a checkpoint.[23]
  • 25 January 2010, during riots, one policeman was killed while 11 policemen and 3 school children were injured.[24]
  • 27 January 2010, separatists shoot dead a policeman in Al-Ghaydah.[25]
  • 1 February - 24 February, government crackdown arrests 130 separatists in South Yemen.[26]
  • 2 February, unknown gunman killed Yemeni opposition figure and Yemeni Socialist Party member Saeed Ahmed Abdullah bin Daoud in Ayban.[27]
  • 13 February 2010, Riots in al-Hawta city, Lahij province left one dead and 7 injured. According to Hawta security director Ali Ammar: "Separatist elements blocked the roads, opened fire randomly and hurled a grenade at a security patrol, killing a citizen and injuring others." [28]
  • 17 February 2010, Tareq al-Fadhli announced that starting on 20 February, the next phase of the South Yemeni uprising would begin with mass protests and civil disobedience campaign.[29] The man who died was a protester and an also 5 protesters were arrested. However in a separate clashes armed separatists killed a soldier and wounded three in Shabwa province.[30]
  • 20 February 2010, separatists kill the director of a criminal investigations unit and one of his guards in an ambush on a government convoy, another three people were injured. In a separate incident clashes erupted between security forces and gunmen in al-Dalea.[31]
  • 22 February 2010, Faris al-Dhama, a South Yemeni activist is arrested and killed by the Yemeni government.[32]
  • 23 February 2010, a soldier is killed by armed separatists in Dhale Province [33]
  • 26 February 2010, a soldier is killed in an ambush in the Abyan province.[34]
  • 27 February 2010, Yemen declares state of emergency in southern Yemen. This decision follows a rise in attacks against soldiers.[35]
  • 1 March 2010, Southern Yemeni activist, accused of links with al-Qaeda, his wife, son and daughter and two policemen were killed in an armed attack against his home. An other policemen was wounded.[36] In a second time over 19 people were killed in a bombing in the city of Ta'izz.[37]
  • 11 March 2010, two militants were killed and 10 others wounded in clashes with police. 6 policemen were also wounded.[38]
  • 1 April 2010, an argument between inmates from the separatist Movement for the Independence of Southern Yemen and guards resulted in a bomb being thrown and up to forty inmates escaping in Daleh. Four were reported injured.[39]
  • 15 April 2010, two militants were wounded during a riot after a demonstration in the city of Daleh.[40]
  • 4 June 2010, a Yemeni colonel and two of his bodyguards were killed in an attack.[41]
  • 20 June 2010, two officers were killed in an ambush in the province of Dali.[42]
  • 23 June 2010, three soldiers were killed in fighting in Dhaleh province.[43]
  • 24 June 2010, three soldiers and a civilian were killed, and eight others wounded in clashes in Dhaleh province.[44]
  • 25 June 2010, one Southern Movement separatist was killed by security forces in Aden after a firefight erupted during anti-government protests.[45]
  • 7 July 2010, two demonstrators died and four were injured when police attempted to break up anti-government protest in Aden.[46]
  • 27 July 2010, separatists ambushed a security patrol in Lahij, killing four soldiers and wounding nine others.[44]
  • 5 September 2010, Two people were killed and seven others were injured Sunday in clashes between security forces and militants in Lahij governorate in southern Yemen.[47]
  • 17 December 2010, clashes killed four Yemeni soldiers and an army officer after soldiers shot dead a Southern Movement member, Abbas Tanbaj, in Habilain in Lahij governorate. Eight additional people are reported wounded, including five soldiers, two militants, and a civilian.[44]
  • 8 January 2011, Southern Movement militants attacked a checkpoint in al Malah district in Lahij governorate. At last two soldiers were killed and another was injured in the attack.[48]
  • 10 January 2011, clashes in Lahij governorate killed at last two soldiers.[49]
  • 12 January 2011, fighting between southern separatists and soldiers in Lahij governorate killed four Yemeni soldiers and wounded ten others.[50]
  • 13 January 2011, southern Movement supporters demonstrated in Mukallah in Hadramawt governorate demanding that detained militants be released. One militant was killed and two others were wounded.[51]
  • 16 January 2011, one woman was killed and seven civilians were woundedd in Habilain in Lahij governorate during fighting. The army reported that four of its soldiers were wounded during the clashes.[44]

2011 Yemeni revolution

  • 24 February 2011, at least one civilian was killed during a Southern Movement protest in the city of Lawder in Abyan governorate.[52]
  • March 28, 2011, in Shabwa the South Yemen movement attacked and looted Central Security camps, taking control of Nessab, Al-Saaed, Haban and Maevaa districts of the city.[53]
  • 4 April 2011, southern separatists stormed military checkpoints in the southern governorate of Lahij. The clashes left one soldier dead and five soldiers wounded.[54]
  • 20 April 2011, gunmen attacked security forces at a protest in Khormaksar city in Aden governorate, killing one soldier and wounding at least four other people. Some witnesses report that the gunmen were connected to the Southern Movement.[44]
  • 10 June 2011, suspected Southern Movement militants attacked a military checkpoint outside al Habilain in Lahij governorate. At least five soldiers and three rebels were killed.[55]
  • 16 June 2011, gunmen linked with the Southern Movement shot and killed two Yemeni soldiers in Lahij governorate.[56]
  • 24 June 2011, at least three soldiers and a passerby were killed in an attack led by South Yemen militants in al Mansoura.[44]
  • 24 June 2011, a famous Southern separatist leader Jeyab al Saadi was killed when security forces opened fire on the funeral procession in Aden.[57]
  • 1 July 2011, an armed militant from the Southern Movement was killed in an attack on an army position in Aden. Six others, including three soldiers, were injured in the clash.[58]
  • 9 July 2011, South Yemen movement was blamed for an ambush against a security patrol killing a Yemeni army officer and two troops. Two civilians were also wounded in the attack.[59]
  • 23 August 2011, armed tribesmen backed by the South Yemen movement captured a prison in Lahj. Government forces were unable to counter the heavy fire and surrendered. Over 20 prisoners were freed.[60]

Post-Revolution (2012)

The southern movement, like the Houthis rejected a GCC brokered deal between the GPC and Al-Islah and boycotted the February 21, 2012 presidential election leaving Abd Rabbuh Mansur al-Hadi as only candidate.[61]



  • 17 January, Clashes between Yemeni troops and secessionist militants killed four people Friday in southern Yemen, two of them soldiers, sources on both sides said. The fighting broke out when the militants ambushed a military vehicle, killing the soldiers and wounding four others, a military source told AFP.[62]
  • 30 January, two soldiers were among four people killed when the army clashed with separatists in Daleh in south Yemen. South Yemen Movement activists ambushed an army vehicle at dawn with automatic fire, killing two soldiers. Also were killed two attackers and seven more wounded in a subsequent firefight.
An activist with South Yemen Movement confirmed the clash, saying the attackers belonged to the militant Southern Resistance group.[2]
  • 31 January, unknown armed men suspected to be from Al-Qaeda militants killed 15 soldiers and wounding several others during the attack to army checkpoint in city Shibam in southeastern Yemen.[63]
  • 5 February, unidentified gunmen shot dead four Yemeni soldiers an attack on a military vehicle in the southern Shabwah Governorate. They opened fire as the vehicle headed to an army checkpoint near the port of Balhaf gas-export terminal.[64]
  • 7 February, four soldiers killed and many wounded when Yemeni tribesmen ambushed a military convoy accompanying technicians repairmen which were sent to repair an oil pipeline that was blown up by tribal militias in the restive southeastern Hadhramaut Governorate.[65]
  • 18 February, Yemen's Ministry of Defense said that nine people were killed in clashes between armed men and Yemeni soldiers in the southern city of Dalea. Including four soldiers and one officer were killed in the clashes. Also fourteen other soldiers were kidnapped.[66]
  • 9 March, At least two Yemeni soldiers and four militants were killed in a clash on Saturday when fighters tried to attack a military compound in southern Yemen.[67]
  • 10 March, a security official said that suspected Al-Qaeda militants attacked an army vehicle in Yemen's southern Abyan Governorate wounding six soldiers.[68]
  • 22 March, at least eight Houthi fighters, two soldiers and two civilians were killed in the clashes. The gun battle took place after the Shia fighters sought to cross a checkpoint at the northern entrance of the city to participate in a demonstration.[69]
  • 24 March, 24 soldiers Yemeni army killed in an attack Al-Qaida militants on military barracks in the southeast Hadhramaut Governorate.[70]
  • 2 April, at least six Yemeni soldiers and three militants died in a raid on a major army headquarters in Aden.[71] But during the day the death toll has risen to 16 people , including five soldiers.[72]

See also


  1. Violent Clashes between Al-Maraqeshah and Gunmen of Mobility in Abyan- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Army-separatist clash kills four in south Yemen". The Daily Star. 30 January 2014. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Yemen after Saleh: A future fraught with violence
  4. Is South Yemen Preparing to Declare Independence?
  5. [1], [2]
  6. 6.0 6.1 Tracker: Unrest in Southern Yemen
  7. "Yemen policeman shot dead in restive south". AFP. Archived from the original on 2012-06-23. Retrieved 2012-03-11. 
  8. Yemen: Behind Al-Qaeda Scenarios, an unfolding stealth agenda [Voltaire Network]
  9. Southern movement elements kill 8, wound 18 in south Yemen
  10. "Associating the Liberation Movement of South Yemen with Al Qaeda is Red Herring". American Chronicle. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  11. "'US exaggerating al-Qaeda threat in Yemen'". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  12. "Tariq al-Fadhli hoisted the American flag on his house". Aden Press. 2010-02-05. 
  13. "Reuters AlertNet - Yemeni soldier killed in protesters' attack". 2009-04-28. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  14. "Bomb kills Yemeni in southern clashes- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  15. Yemeni soldier killed in clashes in troubled south
  16. "Two dead as south Yemen protesters clash with police. - The Daily Star (Beirut, Lebanon)". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  17. "Two demonstrators killed in clashes with Yemeni police - People's Daily Online". 2009-06-08. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 google news Four Yemeni soldiers killed as unrest swells, [3]
  19. Reuters Two Yemeni soldiers killed in ambush in south
  20. "Trend News: One soldier killed, official kidnapped in south Yemen". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  21. "Five killed in south Yemen protests". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  22. "Yemenis stage general strike to protest 'oppression'". 2010-01-10. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  23. "Yemen troops killed in attack on checkpoint". BBC News. 2010-01-24. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  24. (AFP) – Jan 25, 2010 (2010-01-25). "AFP: One killed and 14 wounded in Yemen separatist violence". Archived from the original on 2011-06-11. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  25. "Khaleej Times Online - Yemen police officer shot dead by secessionists". 2010-01-27. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  26. "Sahwa Net". 2010-02-24. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  27. "Yemeni opposition figure gunned down". 2010-02-02. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  28. "One Killed, 7 Injured in South Yemen Protest: Source". :. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  29. "South Yemen uprising starts Saturday, says separatist". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  30. "NewsYemen". NewsYemen. 2010-02-13. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  31. By Reuters (2010-02-20). "Two dead in ambush of govt vehicle in south Yemen". Arab News. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  32. "Arrests, Detentions, Death in Yemen's Southern Conflict | Middle East | English". 2010-02-23. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  33. "Saba Net - Yemen news agency". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  34. "Saba Net - Yemen news agency". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  35. Mohammed Ghobari (2010-02-27). "Yemen declares state of emergency in southern city". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  36. "Yémen/Sud: un activiste tué ainsi que trois proches et deux policiers - RTL info". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  37. "Une explosion détruit un immeuble au Yémen, on craint 19 morts, actualité Monde : Le Point". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  38. "2 Killed, 10 Wounded in Riot-Hit South- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  39. "Middle East - Scores escape amid Yemen jail blast". Al Jazeera English. 2010-04-01. Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  40. (2010-04-15). "Le Figaro - Flash Actu : Yemen: manifestations de l'opposition". Retrieved 2010-04-27. 
  41. AFP: Suspected Qaeda members kill Yemeni colonel
  42. "Yemen: 2 Army Officers Killed in Southern Ambush". Fox News. 2010-06-20. 
  43. AFP: '3 Yemeni soldiers die' in clashes in south
  44. 44.0 44.1 44.2 44.3 44.4 44.5 Tracker: Unrest in Southern Yemen | Critical Threats
  45. One killed as police clash with separatists in southern Yemen - Monsters and Critics
  46. 2 Die, 4 Hospitalized after Police Thwart Aden Rally on War's End Anniversary - Yemen Post English Newspaper Online
  47. 2 Killed and 7 Injured in Lahj Clashes - Yemen Post English Newspaper Online
  48. YemenOnline - Voice of Yemen : Separatists attack security checkpoint killing two soldiers
  50. Fierce clashes between the army and the separatists South of Yemen
  51. Woman dies in south Yemen protest
  52. One killed, another Wounded in Abyan- Yemen Post English Newspaper Online
  53. Yemeni regime loses grip on four provinces - Arab News
  54. One soldier killed in raid by separatist militants in south Yemen - People's Daily Online
  55. "Eight die as Yemeni troops fight southern rebels". Reuters. 10 June 2011. 
  56. Army kills 'al-Qaeda fighters' in Yemen - Middle East - Al Jazeera English
  57. Kasinof, Laura (24 June 2011). "Yemen's Security Forces Clash With Protesters at Funeral Procession for a Popular Activist". The New York Times. 
  58. Yemenis stage mass rival rallies
  59. Three soldiers killed in south Yemen ambush
  60. Armed tribesmen storm prison, police station in south Yemen - Trend.Az
  61. Houthis and Southern Movement to boycott February election | Yemen Times
  62. "Four killed in south Yemen clashes". The Daily Star. 17 January 2014. 
  63. "Suspected Al-Qaeda attack kills 15 soldiers in Yemen". The Daily Star. 31 January 2014. 
  64. "Gunmen kill four soldiers in south Yemen: official". The Daily Star. 5 February 2014. 
  65. "Yemen tribesmen kill soldiers in restive Hadramawt". The Daily Star. 7 February 2014. 
  66. "Nine dead, 14 soldiers seized in clashes between gunmen and army in Yemen". The Daily Star. 18 February 2014. 
  67. "Two Yemeni soldiers, 30 people killed in clashes". World Bulletin. 9 March 2014. 
  68. "'Qaeda' gunmen attack Yemen army vehicle, wound 6". The Daily Star. 10 March 2014. 
  69. "12 killed in Yemen clashes between army, Houthis". Irib World. 22 March 2014.,-houthis. 
  70. "Al-Qaida militants kill 24 Yemeni soldiers in attack". Xinhua. 24 March 2014. 
  71. Militants attack army HQ in south Yemen, 6 soldiers killrd
  72. Death toll in terrorist attack rises to 16 in Yemen's Aden

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