The Aden Emergency 1963 - 1967

Road Block

The terrorist campaign against British rule in Aden and the 16 sheikhdoms of its hinterland grouped together into the South Arabian Federation began in December, 1963. After two years of mounting violence, the British government announced that it would grant independence to the Federation no later than 1968 and that it would then abandon its military base in Aden for good. Meanwhile, it appealed to all sides for restraint.

Determined to achieve independence immediately and on their own terms, the two main terrorist groups reacted by plunging into further bloodshed against the British and each other. On one side stood the Egyptian-backed Front for the Liberation of South Yemen (F.L.O.S.Y: ). On the other was ranged the fanatically Marxist National Liberation' Front (N.L.F.). And in between was the British soldier - and his family. Women and children were fair game for . terrorist bullets and bombs no less than troops. Senior government officials were also warned in a F.L.O.S.Y. broadcast that they would be "shot one by one, like dogs." Rioting and arson accompanied. the shooting and bombing, and schools, churches and synagogues went up in flames. Unwilling to spend more lives for the privilege of being an imperialist Aunt Sally, Britain announced that she was hurrying forward independence day to November 30, 1967.

This picture shows motorists being searched for illegal arms in the Ma'alla district of Aden during the final days of British rule.

Back to Aden Emergency Article | Britain's Arabian Oil Empire Article


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by Stephen Luscombe