At least 14 killed, dozens wounded in new Sa’ada clashes [Archives:2006/913/Front Page]

January 19 2006

SA'ADA, Jan. 18 – Different media outlets reported this week that armed confrontations between military and security troops and Al-Houthi supporters entrenched in the mountains of Sa'ada governorate have entered their fourth week.

Media sources stated that armed confrontations between Al-Houthi supporters and Sheikh Al-Aujari's men, backed by the government, lasted one week.

Last Friday's confrontations were the fiercest since fighting broke out once again between Al-Houthi followers and government troops and tribesmen standing with them.

Some Al-Houthi followers managed to control Al-Fakhdhain Mountain where Sheikh Al-Aujari, standing with the government, was entrenched Friday night following fierce fighting that claimed the lives of two Al-Aujari tribesmen and injured another eight, including two sons of Al-Aujari's brother. Al-Fakhdhain Mountain was subjected to extensive missile and mortar firing by the army in Nishour.

According to sources, government forces used different weapons to attack the mountain until noon Friday. This eased the task of Al-Aujari's men regaining control of the mountain after suffering deaths and injuries. Four Al-Houthi followers reportedly were killed and three wounded in fighting to assume control of the mountain.

Military troops and Al-Aujari tribesmen dominated Al-Fakhdhain Mountain and continued firing missiles and mortars at Al-Baidha Mountain where Al-Houthi followers were hiding earlier in the week. According to the same sources, government troops never scored a commendable victory.

Bloody confrontations between Al-Houthi supporters and the army are spreading to different areas of Sihar District, the fiercest of which was in Al-Sharj, where Al-Houthi supporters destroyed armored vehicles and seized three soldiers. Many fighters on both sides reportedly have been killed in the area.

Night raids and guerrilla warfare are spreading in the mountains of Anm, Fillah, Bani Muad, Al-Khazaen and Al-Talh. Government forces destroyed a number of buildings belonging to Al-Houthi supporters in Bani Muad, sources said.

Journal and tribal sources said Salim's area was under heavy bombardment until this past Monday, with approximately eight people killed during Eid. These developments came in the wake of reconciliation efforts the past two weeks, led by Al-Baidha governor, Brigadier Yahia Al-Shami.

Sources say Al-Shami and the area's military field commander, Brigadier Ali Muhsin, met with Al-Houthi envoy Abdulkareem Ameeradeen Al-Hothi. Results of the talks are not known, however pessimism prevails amid the massive bombardments.

In Al-Jawf Governorate tension still prevails following official evacuation of Jabal Ham residents in Al-Zahir and Al-Mitoon districts. The evacuees are accused of being Al-Houthi followers. Observers fear the evacuation could be the beginning of attacks similar to those in Sa'ada.