Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, January 2014
Fighting Resumes in Yemen Despite Attempts from Government to Mediate
January 8, 2014
Al-Houthi rebels battling tribesmen in north Yemen
President Hadi on Tuesday sent a delegation to try to broker a truce
Gulf News, AFP, January 8, 2014
Al-Houthi rebels and gunmen from the powerful Hashid tribe in north Yemen clashed for a third straight day on Wednesday, with the fighting intensifying, tribal sources said.
The fighting first broke out on Monday when Al Houthi rebels attempted to take over the towns of Wadi Khaywan and Usaimat, strongholds of the Hashid tribe in Amran province, they said.
Al-Houthis launched the attacks in retaliation for the Hashid tribe’s support for hardline Sunni Salafist groups fighting Al Houthis in Dammaj, the Al Houthis’ stronghold in the northern province of Saada, the sources said.
According to witnesses, the fighting has left dozens dead and wounded. The toll could not be confirmed due to the difficulty of accessing the area.
The tribal sources said the fighting had intensified on Wednesday, while the Al Houthi Ansarullah (Partisans of God) group said on their website http://www.ansaruallah.com/ that they had taken control of several Hashid strongholds.
During the battles, a Hashid chief, Hashim Al Ahmar, escaped an attack but his guard and four of his relatives were killed, tribal sources said.
Yemeni President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Tuesday sent a delegation to try to broker a truce but they have yet to make contact with leaders from the two sides.
Al Houthi rebels have been battling the Sana’a government for nearly a decade in the remote Saada province, but the outbreak of fighting with Sunni militants has deepened the sectarian dimension of the unrest.
Fighting that erupted in late October has centred for months on a Salafist mosque and Quran school in Dammaj.
But the conflict has spread in the northern provinces, embroiling tribes wary of the power of the Al Houthis, who have repeatedly been accused of receiving support from Iran.
Al Houthis, named after their late leader Abdul Malek Al Houthi, are part of the Zaidi Shiite community.
They rose up in 2004 against the government of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, accusing it of marginalising them politically and economically.
They accuse Salafists in Dammaj of turning the town centre into “a real barracks for thousands of armed foreigners”, a reference to the Dar Al Hadith Quran school, where foreigners study.
On January 6, the International Committee of the Red Cross said it had evacuated 34 people wounded in the Dammaj clashes.
The ICRC said it has managed to enter Dammaj six times since the fighting resumed on October 24.
Government renews attempts to reach peace in Houthi-Salafi fighting
SANA’A, Jan. 6—
A new round of delegations was sent this week to several areas in the
North in order to broker a peace deal between the Houthis and the
Salafis, whose fighting has spread throughout the region since it began
in the city of Dammaj in late October.
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