ADEN (Reuters) - Yemeni tribal forces took control of a major southern oil terminal and airport after military forces protecting it withdrew from the site, local officials and residents told Reuters on Thursday.
The tribal group known as Al-Majles al-Ahli made up of former Al Qaeda militants and other tribal groups took over the terminal in the city of Al-Shihr in Hadramawt province, according to local officials and residents in the region. They said there were no clashes between the soldiers and the tribal forces.
The terminal is one of the major hubs for Hadramout region exporting an average of 120,000 to 140,000 barrel per day (bpd) of crude from fields in the area.
The tribal groups also took over a military air base in the area and Al-Rayyan International Airport, local officials told Reuters.
The Houthis, who have formed an alliance of convenience with army units loyal to former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh, seized the capital Sanaa in September and then advanced towards the southern port city of Aden. Saudi Arabia is leading a campaign to drive back the Houthis.
Nearby shipping lanes, including the narrow Bab el-Mandeb passage through which nearly 4 million barrels of oil are shipped daily en route to the Red Sea and Suez Canal, could also be at risk from the conflict.
Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf; Writing by Amena Bakr; Editing by David Evans and Jane Merriman