ADEN (Reuters) – Yemen’s internationally recognised government swore in new governors for Hadhramout and Socotra, state media said on Monday, in a move political sources said was aimed at bolstering unity among an anti-Houthi alliance led by Saudi Arabia.
Mabkhoot bin Mubarak bin Madhi was named governor of the oil-producing Hadhramout region in the south, and Raafat Ali Ibrahim was appointed governor of Socotra island in the Arabian Sea.
The move come as the United Nations is pressing the warring sides to extend a truce expiring on Tuesday in the seven-year conflict that has killed tens of thousands and caused a dire humanitarian crisis. The truce has been in place since April.
The former governor of Hadhramout, Faraj al-Bahsani, remains part of an eight-member council that took over power from Yemen’s president-in-exile in April, the political sources said.
The council was formed under the auspices of Saudi Arabia which had struggled to hold together Yemeni factions under a Saudi-led military alliance against the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, the de fact authority in north Yemen.
Last week the government based in the south replaced the defence and energy ministers in a cabinet reshuffle in a move also seen by political sources as supporting cohesion of the new council and addressing perceived corruption and mismanagement.
The Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 months after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from the capital, Sanaa.
The conflict and ensuing economic collapse has left 80% of Yemen’s population reliant on aid and millions facing hunger.
(Reporting by Mohammed Ghobari and Reyam Mokhashef; Writing by Ghaida Ghantous; Editing by Hugh Lawson)