Houthis kill 20, arrest dozens in latest crackdown

A Yemeni fighter loyal to the Saudi-backed Yemeni president flashes his Kalashnikov assault rifle as he walks on a road leading to the town of Khokha which was retaken from Shiite-Huthi rebels, about 120 kilometres south of the Huthi rebel-held Red Sea port of Hodeida, on December 10, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 12 December 2017
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Houthis kill 20, arrest dozens in latest crackdown

CAIRO: Yemen’s official news agency SABA said the Houthi militias have killed at least 20 people and detained dozens across the country’s north since assassinating former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The Houthis appear to be escalating their crackdown on any possible sign of rebellion among their one-time allies from Saleh’s party, the General People’s Congress. They are also shutting down the Internet and tightening an already existing media blackout.
According to SABA, now under control of the internationally-recognized government, the Houthis also blew up 20 houses in the northern province of Hajja and replaced the province’s governor who was a onetime Saleh associate.
The agency reported on Monday that the Houthis also arrested 49 people in Mahwet, another northern province in Yemen.
Houthi violence continued despite a call by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for a renewed push to end the war.


Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. (AFP)
Updated 19 December 2018
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Calm in Hodeidah as observers move in to monitor cease-fire

  • “Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said
  • The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday

JEDDAH: Truce monitoring observers will be deployed in the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah on Wednesday as the first 24 hours of a UN-brokered cease-fire passed without incident.

The Redeployment Coordination Committee comprises members of the Yemeni government supported by the Saudi-led coalition, and Houthi militias backed by Iran, and is overseen by the UN. 

The head of the committee will report to the UN Security Council every week.

Deployment of the observers is the latest stage in a peace deal reached after talks last week in Sweden. Both sides in the conflict agreed to a cease-fire in Hodeidah and the withdrawal of their forces within 21 days.

“Both parties said publicly they are abiding by the cease-fire,” a UN official said on Tuesday.

Local authorities and police will run the city and its three port facilities under UN supervision, and the two sides are barred from bringing in reinforcements.

UN envoy Martin Griffith said the committee was expected to start its work swiftly “to translate the momentum built up in Sweden into achievements on the ground.”

The truce in Hodeidah officially began at midnight on Monday. Sporadic clashes continued until about 3 a.m. on Tuesday, but residents said there was calm after that. 

“We are hopeful that things will go back to the way they were and that there will be no aggression, no airstrikes and lasting security,” said one, Amani Mohammed.

Another resident, Mohammed Al-Saikel, said he was optimistic the cease-fire would pave the way for a broader truce. “We are hopeful about this cease-fire in Hodeidah and one for Yemen in general,” he said. “We will reach out in peace to whoever does the same.”

The UN Security Council is considering a draft resolution that asks Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to submit proposals by the end of the month on how to monitor the cease-fire.

The resolution, submitted by the UK, “calls on all parties to the conflict to take further steps to facilitate the unhindered flow of commercial and humanitarian supplies including food, fuel, medicine and other essential imports and humanitarian personnel into and across the country.”