Yemen is in the grips of a ferocious conflict. For an impoverished nation like Yemen this is bad news. The increasingly escalating conflict is between forces loyal to the beleaguered President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, and those who pledge their allegiance to Zaidi Shia rebels-known as Houthis, who forced the former to flee the capital Sanaa in February. Yemen’s security forces are split along these lines, with some factions backing Hadi and the other factions backing the Houthis and previous president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Hadi is supported by the predominantly Sunni militia in the south of the country. In recent times Yemen has seen violent conflicts largely spurred by deep rooted problems of unequal access to power and scarce resources. Instability, weak governance, corruption, resource depletion, poor infrastructure, unemployment, high food prices and limited social services; if there is a problem which can possibly plague a country, Yemen has it and in abundance.
Compounding the woes of Yemen are jihadi organisations like Al-Qaeda. According to latest news the extremist group has orchestrated a massive jail break through Al-Qaeda’s Yemen branch, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), in the southern port city of Al Mukalla. It is in this dangerous and strife-ridden country where bullets and bombs are going off every minute that thousands of hapless Indians find themselves stranded. The Indian government has been quick to respond in evacuating a large number of Indian citizens in a timely and prompt manner.
This evacuation effort has not been easy or simple though. In a tweet External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj explained that the situation on ground was “very complex”, with the Sanaa airport being largely inaccessible and airspace being controlled by the Saudis. Some of the Indian citizens stranded in Yemen have refused evacuation because of the financial debts at home which made them travel to Yemen in the first place. They continue to put their lives at risk and are caught between a rock and a hard place.
The situation in Yemen may seem manageable but the Indian government must not rest until all Indians stranded there find a safe passage back home.