Houthis killed 9,646 civilians, including 903 children: Report

Pro-Hadi fighters carry a comrade injured during fighting against Houthis in Taiz, Yemen, in this file picture. (Reuters)
Updated 23 November 2016
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Houthis killed 9,646 civilians, including 903 children: Report

JEDDAH: Yemen’s Houthi rebels and supporters of deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh were responsible for the killings of 9,646 civilians — 8,146 men, 597 women and 903 children — from Jan. 1, 2015 to Sept. 30, 2016 in 16 Yemeni provinces.
This has been revealed by the Yemeni alliance that monitors human rights violations in Yemen (Yemeni Observer) in a new report.
The alliance reported that a total of 9,646 civilians were killed — 8,146 men, 597 women and 903 children — in 17 Yemeni provinces. It said 24,320 civilians sustained injuries — 18,521 men, 3,092 women and 2,707 children.
The total of number of people detained was 12,780, mostly young activists, politicians and media persons, in addition to a number of laborers and children.
The number of violations against public property was 3,811 — committed against educational and health facilities and services, in addition to archaeological sites and places of worship.
Attacks on private properties — headquarters, apartment complexes, factories, farms, shops, and transportation means — numbered 25,934.
The alliance reported the killings of 298 civilians, including 22 children and 53 women, during the third quarter of this year, with the death toll of civilians in the first and second quarters of this year reaching 1,146 civilians, including 373 children and 68 women.
The number of injured civilians in the third quarter of this year was 394, among them 42 children and 98 women, while the number of civilian casualties during the first and second quarters was 4,044, including 369 civilians and 1,067 women.
The Yemeni alliance reported the arrest of 942 people by the Houthis during the third quarter of this year, against 3,380 people arrested during the first and second quarters of the year.
The number of attacks on properties in the third quarter of this year amounted to 82, while 346 attacks targeted private properties.
A total of 949 attacks were carried out against public properties and 2,673 targeted private properties during the first and second quarters of this year.
The death toll of civilians in 2015 was 8,202, including 508 children and 476 women. The number of wounded stood at 19,882, including 2296 children and 1927 women, while 8,458 arrests were made.
The repeated violations affirm the Houthi-Saleh disregard for international and humanitarian laws.
Shami Al-Daheri, a military analyst and strategic expert, said the Houthis are led by Iran, and follow its orders.
“They are moving in Yemen, Iraq and Syria following Tehran’s orders. If the country sees there is pressure on its supporters in Iraq, it issues orders to the Houthis in Yemen to carry out more criminal acts, in order to divert attention and ease the pressure on its proxies in these countries.”
Meanwhile, renewed clashes between Yemeni government forces and rebels killed more than 40 people Tuesday, military officials said, a day after a fragile 48-hour cease-fire expired without halting the violence.
Forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi repelled an attack by Shiite Houthis and their allies on the western outskirts of Taiz city, the officials said.
The attack that began late Monday targeted the Al-Dhabab area, which provides pro-Hadi forces with their only access to the flashpoint city of 300,000 people that is surrounded by insurgents.
Warplanes from the Saudi-led Arab coalition took part in operations to repel the attack, officials said.
In northwest Yemen, fighting around the coastal town of Midi cost the lives of 18 rebels and four soldiers, a loyalist commander on the ground, Abdel Ghani Chebli, told AFP.
Rebel sniper fire on Monday night killed three soldiers as the Houthis tried to advance on Midi’s harbor, which is controlled by pro-Hadi forces.
In the southern city of Aden, an airport security officer, Col. Abdel Rahim Samahi, was gunned down outside his home in an attack, a security official said Tuesday.
The Daesh group said it killed Samahi, the Site Intelligence Group reported.
Separately, civilians in Taiz are trapped by intense fighting, with dead bodies lying in the streets and 200 people wounded in the past three days, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Tuesday.
Houthi fighters and government forces backed by a Saudi-led military coalition are battling for control of Taiz, the country’s third largest city with an estimated pre-war population of 300,000.
“Sniper fire and indiscriminate shelling has trapped civilians. Dead bodies are in the streets and people are unable to attend to their most basic needs. The situation is desperate,” Alexandre Faite, head of the ICRC in Yemen, said in a statement.
Some 200 people have been wounded over the past 72 hours, the aid agency said. “Many patients are suffering from blast injuries. Many have had to have limbs amputated,” it said.


Ethiopia pays tribute to slain military chief

Updated 48 min 16 sec ago
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Ethiopia pays tribute to slain military chief

  • Hundreds of soldiers and officers in uniform gathered for the ceremony in a huge hall in central Addis Ababa

ADDIS ABABA: Ethiopia held a memorial on Tuesday for the army chief of staff slain with four other senior officials in weekend attacks that posed the biggest threat yet to the prime minister's reforms.
Abiy Ahmed, who survived a grenade attack at a rally in his honour last year, sat in the front row at the memorial and wiped tears from his eyes with a white handkerchief.
Abiy took power 15 months ago and has won widespread international praise for kickstarting political and economic reforms. But his shake-up of the military and intelligence services has earned him powerful enemies at home.
His government is also struggling to contain discontent from Ethiopia's myriad ethnic groups fighting the federal government and each other for greater influence and resources.
The foiled plot to seize control of the northern Amhara region and the assassinations in the national capital Addis Ababa underscored the threat of spiralling violence in Africa's second-most populous nation.
In addition to the killing of the chief of staff in the capital, Amhara state president Ambachew Mekonnen and an adviser were killed in the region's main city Bahir Dar.
The attacks were led by Amhara's head of state security General Asamnew Tsige, who had been openly recruiting fighters for ethnic militias in a state that has become a flashpoint for violence.
Asamnew, the alleged coup plotter, was shot on Monday near Bahir Dar, according to the prime minister's office. He had served nearly a decade in jail for a previous coup plot, but was released as part of an amnesty last year.
RISKS
Hundreds of soldiers and officers in uniform gathered for the ceremony in a huge hall in central Addis Ababa.
Roads in the capital were blocked for the ceremony and security was tight. Access to the internet appeared to be blocked across Ethiopia for the third straight day, users reported.
The coffins of army chief of staff Seare Mekonnen and a retired general, both shot dead on Saturday by Seare's bodyguard in the national capital Addis Ababa, were wheeled into the hall, draped in Ethiopian flags.
Photographs of the men in formal military dress were adorned with yellow roses. Seare will be buried in his home region of Tigray on Wednesday.
At the memorial, the army's deputy chief of staff General Birhanu Jula spoke of the chief of staff's bravery in the guerrilla war against the Communist Derg regime that was toppled in 1991, and of his leadership role in Ethiopia's war against neighbouring Eritrea in the late 1990s.
The weekend killings came as Ethiopia prepares to hold parliamentary elections next year, although the electoral board warned this month that they were behind schedule and that instability could delay polling.
SECURITY FORCES
Ethiopia's ruling coalition, itself a grouping of ethnically-based parties, is facing an unprecedented challenge from strident ethno-nationalist parties, global think-tank Crisis Group said in a briefing note on Tuesday.
Asamnew, who allegedly orchestrated the killings, had been appointed by state authorities as regional security chief in an effort to claw back support from Amharas supporting more his more hardline policies, including expansion of Amhara's borders, the group said.
"The 22 June killings confirm the dangers in handing security portfolios to hardliners like Asamnew who are ready to pander to extreme ethno-nationalists, from whichever of Ethiopia’s ethnicities," the note read.
Ethiopia analysts say the prime minister must tread carefully to restore security. Too strong a response risks derailing his reforms and angering a polarised population. But failure to punish those responsible could see violence could spiral out of control.
Mehari Taddele Maru, an independent Ethiopian analyst, said the government should channel public anger through dialogue, but if ethnic rivalries spread to the federal armed forces, that could destroy the state, he said.