South Yemen Secessionists Are Expelling Northerners

Pro-UAE forces accuse northern refugees of being 'fifth columnists'

Having seized the South Yemen capital of Aden over the weekend, southern secessionists are a step closer to reasserting the former country’s existence. A unified Yemen has been a thing for almost 30 years, which can’t be undone with one city falling.

The separatists, and their UAE-backed allies are moving to expel refugees who have fled into their territory from northern Yemeni areas. 800 were believed to have been deported in a single month.

The northerners are being accused of being “fifth columnists” for the Shi’ite Houthis, who control the north, or some of them for whom that doesn’t make sense are being accused of being in league with the Muslim Brotherhood.

This narrative makes sense for the separatists, but undercuts the Saudi-led invasion’s intention of eventually conquering all of Yemen. The UAE-backed forces just need to keep control of the south, and for the sake of a New South Yemen, it’s probably just as well they’re not overrun with refugees, nor with an unstable north.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of