Several exiled ministers and top intelligence officials - formerly based in Riyadh - successfully landed in Yemen's devastated southern city of Aden on Thursday, Yemeni officials said.
This is the first visit for Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi’s government to Aden in three months, since the start of the Saudi-led air strikes against the Iranian backed Houthis in Yemen began in late March.
The visit comes after the Houthis largely retreated from the city. The Saudi-led operation dubbed “Decisive storm” began when Houthi militants took control over Aden, following which exiled Yemeni President Hadi called on Arab nations to help “save Yemen.”
The government personnel arrived by helicopter at a military air base west of Aden. The group included Yemen’s interior and transport ministers, the former interior minister, the country’s intelligence chief, and the deputy head of the house of representatives.
"[Exiled President] Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi delegated this group to return to Aden to work to prepare the security situation and ensure stability ahead of a revival of the institutions of state in Aden," one of the officials told Reuters.
Local fighters loyal to Hadi have wrested the city's airport and main seaport from the grip of the Houthis in the past two days, in fighting which medics say has killed and wounded dozens.
"Aden International Airport and Khormaksar have been cleared of Houthi and Saleh elements by armed forces backing Yemen's legitimacy and the popular resistance forces, in coordination with and with direct support by the coalition," Yemeni government spokesperson Rajeh Badi said on Wednesday.
He said that pro-government forces are anticipating that Aden will come entirely under their control in upcoming days.
Around 20 million Yemenis are suffering from a lack of water and a million people have been displaced from their homes as a result of the armed conflict in the country.
In the city of Aden alone, more than 858 Yemeni civilians were killed, including 259 children, and 6,879 others were wounded in the first 102 days of the conflict.
More than 3,000 people, including 1,500 civilians, have been killed in the conflict since March, according to the UN.
An international aid agency said on Tuesday that a fuel shortage in Yemen may cause more deaths than the ongoing conflict between the country’s government and Houthi rebels, which erupted again after a supposedly one-week-long humanitarian truce brokered by the United Nations. Fuel is needed to keep Yemen’s water pumps functioning.