Yemen’s Prime Minister and Vice-President Khaled Bahah, who had fled to Saudi Arabia as Houthi rebels took over the country, returned to the port city of Aden on Saturday after it was recaptured by government forces.
Bahah told reporters that his mission is to rebuild the city and help return Yemen to normalcy.
Six other ministers from President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi’s cabinet, which is internationally recognized as the legitimate government in Yemen, accompanied Bahah on the trip.
His return marks a dramatic turnaround in the civil war which erupted late last year. Following months of punishing Saudi-let Arab coalition air raids against the Houthis, government forces loyal to Hadi launched a counter-offensive to seize Aden’s airport in early July.
By July 17, they had cleared the city of Houthi rebels, but fighting continues in other provinces. The Houthis still control the capital Sanaa.
The United Nations says that at least 4,000 people have been killed and one million displaced since the conflict between the government and rebels broke out last September.
It says that more than 16 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance.
In January, the Houthis – who are Shia – seized the presidential palace in the capital Sanaa and forced then leader Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi to resign. They have since sought to consolidate their hold on the country.
Hadi, who was placed under house arrest, eventually escaped and fled to Aden, the former capital of South Yemen.
He then declared Aden the new temporary capital of the entire country, but the Houthis pursued him there and captured that city as well.
The fall of Aden prompted the Saudis and some of their allies to mount military operations against the Houthis, who they accuse of acting as Iranian proxies.
The fight between the Houthis and the government, which was formed in November 2014, has created a security and political vacuum that has been used by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, as well as the more militant Islamic State (ISIL), to grow their strength and influence.
The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies