Yemen rebel infighting in Sanaa leaves 14 dead: medics

Houthi supporters hold their weapons as they attend a gathering ahead of the birth anniversary of the Prophet Muhammad in Sanaa, Yemen Nov. 28, 2017. (Reuters/Khaled Abdullah)
Updated 30 November 2017
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Yemen rebel infighting in Sanaa leaves 14 dead: medics

SANAA: Clashes in Yemen’s capital between Shiite Houthi terrorists and loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh left 14 people dead Wednesday, medics and officials said.
The fighting erupted around Sanaa’s central Saleh mosque, Yemen’s largest, as Houthis tried to seize it ahead of Thursday’s celebration of the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday, they said.
“The Houthis attempted to take control of the mosque in anticipation of a rally on Thursday in the adjacent square,” said an official from Saleh’s General People’s Congress, asking not to be named.
The mosque’s guards, who were Saleh supporters, resisted, triggering a gunfight between the two camps, the GPC official said.
The shootout then spread to nearby districts controlled by Saleh loyalists.
The official said four Saleh supporters were killed on the spot and a fifth died of his wounds later in hospital.
Nine Houthi fighters also died in the fighting, according to officials at two hospitals in the capital.
Rebel chief Abdulmalik Al-Houthi had on Wednesday urged supporters across the country to head to Sanaa for the rally.
For decades sworn enemies, nationalist forces loyal to Saleh and the Iran-backed Shiite Houthis joined ranks in 2014 to drive the government of President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi out of Sanaa.
That prompted a Saudi-led coalition to intervene the following year to prop up Hadi’s government.
The war has since killed some 8,600 people, while a further 2,000 have died of cholera.
Despite a crippling coalition blockade, the Houthis and Saleh’s forces continue to jointly control Sanaa, but tensions between them have escalated since a public dispute in August.
The Houthis accused Saleh of treason after the former president publicly dismissed the Iran-backed rebels as “militias.”
Saleh’s GPC party last month accused the Houthis of waging an “orchestrated campaign” against the former strongman and lacking “the will to maintain partnership.”
The Houthis responded that the GPC had broken its pact by accepting funds from Hadi’s government.


Dozens of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya

Updated 37 min 49 sec ago
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Dozens of migrants refuse to leave container ship in Libya

  • Loaded with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93 migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday
  • The ship’s cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded, but the migrants remained unmoved

MISRATA: Dozens of migrants have barricaded themselves in a container ship in the Libyan port city of Misrata for the past five days, after being picked up at sea, and refuse to disembark, saying Libya is too dangerous for them.
Loaded with cars, the ship Nivin was already bound for Misrata when it picked up 93 migrants in a foundering raft in the Mediterranean Sea late on Friday and continued toward its destination. Two of the migrants agreed to leave with the Libyan coast guard, but the others refused, saying Libya was deadly for migrants and they wanted to go to Europe.
They have been in the Misrata port ever since, with the captain and crew taking refuge on the upper decks.
One of the migrants, a man from South Sudan reached by The Associated Press on the ship, vowed on Wednesday to reach Europe or die trying. He said six commercial ships passed his group before the Nivin finally stopped.
Libya’s coast guard had no immediate comment on the situation.
With just one rescue ship patrolling the Mediterranean, and European ports refusing to take in rescued migrants, commercial ships have become increasingly leery of picking up people in the sea. Repeatedly in recent months, they have found themselves caught in the middle between governments hostile to new migrants and an obligation under international maritime law to save
The man, who identified himself only by his name, Victor, fearing for his safety, said he himself had already been imprisoned repeatedly in Libya and that his own brother had died there. He had no intention of returning, he said.
“We don’t want to go out in Libya,” he told The Associated Press. “You can come and take my dead body outside.”
Julien Raickman, who is the head of the Doctors Without Borders mission in Libya, said Europe’s policy of refusing to take in rescued migrants has led to a spike in deaths. Now one in five who cross perish at sea, he said.
Raickman said the Libyan coast guard has given international organizations access to the migrants, who have food and some degree of medical care now, but no toilets or other sanitary facilities. The ship’s cargo of cars was peacefully unloaded, but the migrants remained unmoved.
“We’re afraid that this dispute will end in violence. The people who are on board are determined. They know that they went far and could face charges for taking control of a boat,” he said. “But these are people motivated by despair.”