Militiamen affiliated with the UAE-backed separatist group the Southern Transitional Council (STC) have kidnapped around 60 guards at the Central Bank in Aden, local sources have reported.

The sources revealed that “The Storm” militants abducted the guards yesterday and detained them at Al-Tawahi Prison. Their military vehicles were also seized.

The STC is thought to be seeking to consolidate its control of government institutions, including Aden’s main airport. Last year the group was accused of seizing a consignment of billions of riyals destined for the Central Bank.

Tension has risen in Aden between the STC and forces fighting on behalf of the Saudi-based, UN-recognised Yemeni government. Despite being the government’s interim capital, Aden has been under the control of the STC since 2019. On Friday, the group’s militia arrested a senior security officer, Major Awad Al-Sayyed, before taking him to an unknown location.

Last month, the head of the STC, Aidarus Al-Zoubaidi, declared a state of emergency in Aden and across the other southern provinces against the backdrop of mounting unrest over a deteriorating local economy and living conditions.

READ: Clashes between separatist forces kill four fighters in Yemen’s Aden