05/13/2016, 15.02
YEMEN
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As Yemen moves towards partition, ethnogeographic cleansing continues

Thousands of northerners living in the south are being driven from their homes. People are terrorised with police raids, job dismissal, and hangings by security committees and Saudi troops.

Aden (AsiaNews) - Northern Yemenis are being driven out of Aden. The forced removal campaign begun in 2015, and has picked up steam in the past few days.

The aim of the ongoing ethno-geographic cleansing seems to be the expulsion of northern Yemenis as a preliminary step towards the homogenisation of the southern population and the country`s partition along pre-1990 boundaries.

Former President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi appears to behind this plan with backing from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Despite the fact that many in the country oppose the move, fears are growing that it is going in this direction anyway. The arrival of US troops has not allayed such fears, on the contrary.

Strictly speaking, this is not ethnic cleansing since the victims of persecution have the same ethnic background as their persecutors. Nevrtheless, even if the cleansing is geographic in nature, it is a form of racism.

Earlier this week, hundreds of workers from north of Sana'a were driven away. In a week, Hadi-appointed security authorities drove 842 workers from Taaz out of Aden.

Local authorities rejected accusations of targeted persecution, but the facts show that the expellees are all from the north.

Such actions were justified by claiming that the expelled workers had "no identity papers". However, when the latter spoke to refugee advocates, they dismissed the authorities` argument, showing their ID cards to the activists.

The incident occurred in the Tor area, half way between the two provinces of Al Haj and Taaz, before TV cameras (pictured).

When confronted with the video evidence, southern authorities changed their tune, accusing the expellees of being "informers for Ansar Allah and the Presidential Guards," and using "fake papers to support the opposition in the South".

In October last year, security forces backed by the United Arab Emirates detained and expelled 400 northeners for lack if ID papers.

Yemen`s former Culture Minister Arwa Osman described the deportation as a "degrading image of man and his dignity."

In March 2015 pro-Hadi armed groups, along with members of Al Qaeda and local armed militias, seized the Central Security headquarters in Aden, as well as properties and businesses owned by northerners.

This was followed by the dismissal of northern civil servants. The geographic hate campaign intensified later, when Aden came under the control of "security committees", reaching a peak in August when Saudi troops intervened as Hadi`s "allies".

Persecution and expulsion have turned physical with thousands of northern families "voluntarily" leaving as a result of harassment, abuse, torture and killings.

Northern-owned shops have been looted and notherners have been publicly hanged for allegedly belonging to or collaborating with Ansar Allah.

Daily abuses include raids against northern homes, ostensibly to find concealed weapons, with residents forced to put up with all sorts of harassment.

This hate campaign is splitting the country apart, 25 years after reunification.

After the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the end of the First World War, Yemen was divided into an independent part and another under British mandate.

After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Yemen was reunified, but tensions have persisted between north and south. (PB)

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