Yemen’s Defense Minister Mahmoud al-Subaihi, who was under house arrest in the capital Sanaa, has escaped to the southern port city of Aden.
Turkey’s Anadolu Agency on Sunday quoted tribal sources close to Subaihi as saying that he had arrived in Aden in the early hours of Sunday after fleeing the capital to join fugitive President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi.
In a similar move, Hadi also fled Sana’a on February 21 after weeks under effective house arrest and went to Aden, where he highlighted his determination to resume duties.
Hadi considered the southern port city to be Yemen’s capital, an aide said on Saturday.
But tensions were running high in Aden, as special forces suspected of links to Ansarullah powerful group readied defenses against an anticipated assault by Hadi loyalists.
“Aden became the capital of Yemen as soon as the Houthis occupied Sanaa,” the aide quoted Hadi as saying in reference to the resistance’s freeing of Sanaa several months ago from Al-Qaeda terrorists.
In January, the Yemeni president and the cabinet of Prime Minister Khaled Bahah stepped down but the parliament rejected the resignation that he later withdrew after leaving Sanaa. However, the Houthi movement said Hadi had lost his legitimacy after escaping the capital and was being sought as fugitive.