Houthi killing spree jeopardizes truce

Updated 18 May 2015

Houthi killing spree jeopardizes truce

SANAA: Fierce clashes between Iran-backed Houthi rebels and pro-government forces killed dozens across south Yemen on Saturday, threatening to derail a humanitarian cease-fire drawn up to bring vital aid to the war-wracked country.
In the latest violence, at least 12 civilians were killed and 51 wounded when the Houthis shelled several neighborhoods in Yemen’s third city of Taez, military and local sources said.
The clashes came after overnight fighting killed 26 Houthi rebels and militiamen loyal to deposed President Ali Abdullah Saleh as well as 14 pro-government forces, military sources said.
Some aid has begun to trickle into Yemen since the pause in fighting, but residents of areas where clashes persist complain they remain without the most basic supplies. The fighting in Taez forced many to flee to the countryside.
“Humanitarian aid hasn’t reached Taez, where we haven’t received fuel, food or medical equipment,” said a government official in the city.
And in southern Daleh province, five Houthis were killed overnight when their convoy was ambushed, an official said.
Morocco’s armed forces, meanwhile, said they have located the body of one of their pilots downed over Yemen. A plane has been sent with DNA experts to identify the body of Yassine Bahti, whose F-16 was shot down Monday.
The Yemeni embassy in Riyadh held Saturday a press conference announcing a series of measures taken ahead of peace talks.
Abdul Aziz Jabari, the head of the committee preparing for the talks, said the dialogue would result in effective decisions that would be obligatory for all parties.


Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

Updated 12 min 27 sec ago

Libyan migrant centers are like concentration camps, pope says

  • The pope has in the past called for the camps to be closed
  • Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya

VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis on Wednesday compared migrant detention centers in Libya to concentration camps, saying the world was being given only a diluted version of how hellish life really was for the people living there.
The pope, who has in the past called for the camps to be closed, made his comments in his homily during a Mass to mark the seventh anniversary of his trip to the Italian island of Lampedusa, landing place for many migrants making the perilous crossing from north Africa.
Departing from his prepared address, he recalled how an interpreter translating his conversation with a migrant seven years ago, gave him only a “distilled” version of what the migrant was actually saying.
“This is what is happening today in Libya. They give us the distilled version,” said Francis, who has made defense of migrants a major part of his seven-year-old papacy.
“Yes, there is a war (in Libya) and we know that is ugly but you cannot imagine the hell that people live there in those lagers of detention,” he said.
Lager is an abbreviation of the German word ‘Konzentrationslager’, or concentration camp.
“All these people had was hope as they were crossing the sea,” Francis said.
Thousands of refugees and migrants are held in about 20 official detention facilities in Libya, some controlled by armed groups, as well as an unknown number in squalid centers run by traffickers, according to the United Nations.
Human rights groups say abuses, including beating and forced labor, are rife in the detention centers.
Detainees in the Libyan camps include those who left on boats for Europe and were brought back by the European Union- backed Libyan Coast Guard, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, UNHCR, says.