Armed tribesmen seized control of war-torn Yemen’s only gas export terminal on Tuesday after soldiers assigned to protect it surrendered, a military source said.

The tribesmen decided to organise their own security for the Balhaf plant, operated by Yemen LNG, in which France’s Total has a stake of almost 40%, the source said.

Yemen LNG said on Tuesday it had stopped operations at the Gulf of Aden terminal in the southern province of Shabwa due to a “force majeure”.

Southern tribes have taken up arms against the Al Houthi militia that has advanced from the north in its fight against forces loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who has fled to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led air war against the Al Houthis and their allies is in its third week.

Shabwa province has seen heavy clashes between southern fighters and the Al Houthis.

Soldiers guarding the Balhaf terminal were allowed to leave after they handed over their weapons, a tribal source said, adding that the tribes “pledged to protect the installations against looting”.

According to the military source, “members of every tribe involved have been assigned to a force that will protect the port”.

On Monday, tribesmen overran the bases of two army brigades near the terminal.

Source: Gulf News