SANAA, Yemen (AP) — A ballistic missile ripped through a military parade for a Yemeni southern separatist group that’s backed by the United Arab Emirates, killing at least six troops and four children, a spokesman said Sunday.

Maged al-Shoebi, a spokesman for the group, blamed Houthi rebels for the attack.

The explosion took place while the separatists, known as the Resistance Forces, were finishing a parade for new recruits at a soccer field in the capital of Dhale province, al-Shoebi told The Associated Press.

The group is part of the the Southern Transitional Council or STC, which seeks the return of the independent state that existed in the south until 1990.

The STC is allied with the Saudi-led coalition that’s been fighting Yemen’s Houthi rebels. But the UAE-backed southerners are currently at odds with Yemen’s internationally recognized government, which is more closely allied with Saudi Arabia. Cracks in the anti-Houthi bloc have widened over the past several months.

Footage circulated online of Sunday’s attack shows a hole in a stage at the edge of the field, apparently from an explosion, while other footage showed dead bodies on the ground.


At least 21 people, including civilians, were wounded in the blast, al-Shoebi said. He blamed the Houthis for the attack. The rebel group did not immediately comment.

The Houthis have been trying to wrest Dhale province from the southern separatists for years, but without much progress.

The conflict in Yemen began with the 2014 takeover of Sanaa by the Houthi rebels. They drove out the government of President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, forcing him to flee to the south and eventually to Saudi Arabia, which entered the war in 2015.

The fighting in the Arab world’s poorest country has killed over 100,000 people and left millions suffering from food and medical shortages. The conflict has also pushed the country to the brink of famine.


Associated Press writer Maad al-Zikry contributed to this report from Aden, Yemen.