SANA'A, Secessionists who are seeking independence for southern Yemen on Saturday seized the presidential palace in Aden from forces of the Saudi-backed government and tightened control of the southern port city, local sources and media said.

Since Wednesday, fighting has raged in Aden between government troops and separatists.

Aden became the country's temporary seat of government after Iran-linked Houthi rebels overran the capital Sana'a in late 2014.

Insurgents linked to the self-styled Southern Transitional Council on Saturday captured the presidential palace in Aden's central district of Crater without a fight after the presidential guards left, a local source told dpa.

Several of the presidential guards have also joined the Transitional Council, the source added on condition of anonymity.

The separatists posted online footage purportedly showing them inside the palace, which was home to the government of President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi.

Hadi is in self-imposed exile in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

Having taken control of the palace, the secessionists are now in full control of Aden, Yemeni independent news portal Adan al-Ghad reported.

Earlier Saturday, the separatists said they had wrested control of several pro-government military camps in Aden.

Yemen's Foreign Ministry has accused the Southern Transitional Council of staging a coup against the internationally recognized government.

At least 30 people have been killed in fighting between the government troops and separatists over the past 24 hours in Aden, a local medical official said on Saturday.

Dozens have been injured in the violence, the official told dpa.

The unrest in Aden opens a separate front in Yemen's years-long civil war and has exposed cracks in the Saudi-led military alliance that has been fighting Houthi rebels in Yemen for more than four years.

It could also cause tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which is part of the Saudi-led coalition but reportedly backs the secessionist movement.

UN efforts have failed to resolve Yemen's conflict, which has resulted in the world's worst humanitarian crisis and thousands of civilian deaths.

Source: NAM News Network

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