200 killed or woundedAl-Hothy appeals [Archives:2004/750/Front Page]

June 28 2004
Al-Hothys letter of appeal to the president
Al-Hothys letter of appeal to the president
Mohammed bin Sallam
While the newspaper is being printed, bloody confrontations continue for the third consecutive week around the Mran mountains in Saddah Governorate between security forces, using warplanes, tanks, missile, and other heavy weaponry, and tens of followers of Sheikh Hussein Badr Al-Deen Al-Hothy, a former member of parliament and former leader of Al-Haq Party, whose followers are equipped with light arms and rocket-propelled grenades.
There are conflicting reports about the actual losses in both sides. Official reports state that 50 of the Sheikh's followers have been killed, more than 35 wounded, and 60 arrested, in addition to 17 soldier killed and a number of wounded in fierce battles.
Non-official sources stated that the losses among civilians are higher and the number could reach 200 killed and wounded.
Official sources stated that President Saleh has issued a directive to dispatch a delegation, to include the Sheikh's brother, Yahya Badr Al-Deen, a Member of Parliament, in addition to tribal and religious figures to mediate and encourage Sheikh Hussein to render himself to the security authorities. However, the committee, until Saturday, June 26, had not yet reached an agreement. The security authorities have suspended Al-Hothy's fixed and mobile telephone lines, which made it very difficult to contact him in high mountains.
At the same time, the official media has referred to the ongoing campaign as “Targeting religious Sheikh Hussein Badr Al-Deen Al-Hothy who has seated himself as “Imam”, has raised the Lebanese Hizbollah flag, and for his provocation of ethnic and sectarian conflicts”.
According to the official media, he has formed an armed militia, a secret organization in violation of the law, while some of his followers have carried out highway robberies and aggressions against members of security forces at checkpoints.
He has declared himself in rebellion against the state, the constitution and the law. Al-Hothy supporters have also looted a water project, depriving other citizens and security forces of clean drinking water.
Sheikh Al-Hothy has denied on some satellite TV channels all the above allegations and has confirmed that the true motives behind the military campaign was because he is adhering strongly to the slogan “Allah Akbar (God is great), death to America and Israel, victory to Islam and the Muslim”. He pointed out that the charges are official provocation against him and aimed at mobilizing soldiers and public opinion with false rumors and that the true motives behind the military campaign will be revealed in due course.
Sheikh Hussein Al-Hothy has sent a hand-written letter addressed to President Saleh through some mediators. Yemen Times obtained a copy of the letter.
The letter states, “I have met with Mr. Ghalid Al-Moaid, my brother Yahya Badr Al-deen, and Shiekh Al-Dahman and we talked about many issues, including your displeasure with me. This has astonished me since I am certain that I have done nothing that would have led to such a feeling. I do not work against you, I appreciate you and what you do tremendously, but what I do is my solemn national duty against the enemy of Islam and the community America and Israel. I am by your side, so do not listen to hypocrites and provocateurs, and trust that I am more sincere and honest to you than they are. When we meet, if God is willing, I will talk to you about matters that are of great concern to you all. The brothers will explain to you about the details of my meeting with them.
A number of Yemeni religious figures who previously expressed their discontent about Al-Hothy in the official media are now expressing their regret of the killings and destruction inflicted on a number of villages and the use of heavy weapons and warplanes against weak citizens. They call on President Saleh to intervene to halt the fratricidal bloodshed and to order the related authorities to end the military campaign against citizens.
On their part, citizens of Mran (Khulan Amer) and nearby regions and the citizens from the devastated areas in Saddah Governorate, in an urgent appeal, call on international and humanitarian organization to bear their duties immediately and urgently to end this unjust war and rescue thousands of families who are under threat as the ongoing war is demolishing homes over the heads of children, women and the elderly.