The political problems in Yemen are only now featuring in the international news headlines. It has taken some real effort to track the developments in Yemen over the past three months in English language media, but the increasing unrest has now progressed toward outright civil war. Houthi troups loyal to former President Saleh have swept down from Sanaa and are in the process of taking over Aden. President Hadi’s exact whereabouts are unknown – he is purported to have fled the country but his supporters maintain his is still in control of Aden. As Saudi-led coalition air strike bombards Sanaa the crisis deepens into a proxy war between other Middle East countries who fear each others’ influence. Coupled with strong sentiment among many in the south that a return to divided Yemen is the solution of their local problems, the present conflict has many layers and complexities.
Until the last couple of days when shooting and looting have become more widespread, the clinic in Aden has continued to operate as normal, seeing 40-50 patients each day. The staff show courage and tenacity enabling the clinic to continue to serve the Yemeni people. There has been no fighting in the area immediately around the clinic. Fr Velvet and Vijaya returned to India for the time being because everyone involved felt that the presence of foreigners on the property increased the risk for everyone. The church community however continue to meet on Fridays when they can travel freely in the city.
There are strikes and demonstrations in Aden. There has been an arial bombardment of the residence where President Hadi was staying but we are told nobody was hurt. There has been armed conflict between government fighters and supporters of the Houthi movement. It is clear that a civil war will be inconclusive and only deepen the confusion, poverty and basic survival factors for the Yemeni people throughout the country. What’s more, it will also give more scope for IS and AQAP to extend their influence among the tribes.
As always, we covet the prayers of our friends and supporters. Please pray for the eventuality of reconciliation and lasting peace. Please remember that there are many Christians in the country from African and subcontinent nationalities who are also caught up in the unrest and insecurity. Pray too for the safety of the staff as they travel to and from work, and for the church community as they have some distance to travel to meet with other believers. We think of them especially as they celebrate Easter.
May God continue to work in and through his people to reflect his righteousness and peace.