Yemen rebels cornered as govt forces advance

A member of the Yemeni government forces flashes the sign for victory on a road after they captured the southeastern port of Mokha from Houthi rebels on Monday. (AFP)
Updated 26 January 2017
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Yemen rebels cornered as govt forces advance

ADEN: Yemeni rebels are putting up fierce resistance in a key Red Sea port city where they are encircled by pro-government forces, military and health officials said on Thursday.
Deadly clashes have shaken Mokha since loyalist fighters launched an offensive nearly three weeks ago to oust the Iran-backed Houthi insurgents and their allies from Yemen’s southwestern coast.
Fresh fighting has left 20 rebels and seven pro-government fighters dead over the past 24 hours, with dozens more wounded, a hospital official said.
“The city center is still in the hands of the Houthis, while the loyalist forces have taken up positions on three axes around the city and cut off the rebels’ supply route between Mokha and Taiz” further east, a military official said.
He said the rebels had “no choice” but to leave Mokha and head toward the rebel stronghold of Hodeida further north on the Red Sea coast.
The forces loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi are supported by Saudi-led coalition aircraft that have attacked a military camp and a rebel convoy in the past 24 hours, the military official said.
Nearly 230 rebel and loyalist fighters have been killed since Hadi’s forces launched a vast offensive on Jan. 7 to drive the Houthis from Yemen’s southwestern coast.
Pro-government forces have succeeded in recapturing the Dhubab district north of the Bab Al-Mandab strait, a key maritime route connecting the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean.
Loyalist forces said on Monday they had also captured the port in Mokha, but rebels are still holed up inside the city.
Aided by troops loyal to former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the Houthis overran the capital Sanaa in September 2014 and advanced on other regions of the impoverished Arabian Peninsula nation.
The World Health Organization says more than 7,400 people have been killed since the coalition launched its intervention in support of Hadi in March 2015.


Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

Updated 7 min 35 sec ago
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Algeria graft prosecutor refers two ex PMs to supreme court

  • Former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika were referred to the Supreme Court
  • Five other former ministers were also referred

ALGIERS: An Algerian prosecutor investigating graft allegations has referred two former prime ministers and five former ministers to the supreme court, Ennahar TV reported on Sunday citing a statement from the prosecution.
Mass protests have broken out in Algeria demanding the removal of the ruling elite and the prosecution of people demonstrators regard as corrupt. The seven politicians will be investigated by the court over alleged corruption cases, Ennahar said, without providing details.
They include former prime ministers Ahmed Ouyahia and Abdelmalek Sellal who served under President Abdelaziz Bouteflika who resigned on April 2 after coming under pressure from protesters and the army.
The list of the former ministers, who are under investigation, includes Amara Benyounes, Abdelakader Zaalane, Amar Ghoul, Karim Djoudi and Abdessalam Bouchouareb.
They were in charge of the sectors of trade, transport, public works, finance and industry respectively.
Their lawyers could not immediately be reached for comment.
The army is now the most powerful institution after the departure of Bouteflika, who had ruled the North African country since 1999.
Army chief of staff Lieutenant General Ahmed Gaed Salah has said major corruption cases would be pursued to try to appease the protests that started on Feb.22.
Bouteflika's youngest brother, Said, and two former intelligence chiefs have been placed in custody by a military judge over "harming the army's authority and plotting against state authority."
At least five prominent businessmen have also been detained pending trial over involvement in corruption cases.
Protesters also want the resignation of interim president Abdelkader Bensalah and Prime Minister Noureddine Beoui, who are considered as part of the ruling elite that has run the country since independence from France in 1962.