Mediations to end Sa’ada fighting failed [Archives:2006/916/Front Page]

January 30 2006

SA'ADA, Jan. 29 ) The mediation committee had reached an agreement with Al-Houthi supporters on release of detainees, approving compensation for those experiencing damage and ending confrontations between the two conflicting sides, but disputes later erupted as Al-Houthi followers continued chanting slogans against the United States and Israel.

The committee continues to dialogue with Al-Houthi bystanders while confrontations between government forces and insurgents escalate, compelling the second party to distrust pledges and obligations by the first, which never compensated those affected by the war, security sources said.

According to official sources, the mediation committee last Thursday and Friday distributed a total of 320 million Yemeni Riyals to locals in the war-ravaged area of Haidan and inventoried recently damaged properties in areas hit by government air strikes.

The government is exerting extensive efforts to settle armed clashes with rebels and negotiate with them, particularly after followers implemented a series of ambushes targeting provincial security officials.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau director and three of his guards were killed in an ambush on the road between Sa'ada city and Sahar District.

Sahar District Administration Chief, Hussein Shaweet, and three of his guards were injured in another ambush and a military vehicle destroyed when insurgents opened fire on it, official sources said.

The same sources added that Sheikh Ali Hureyah was killed Thursday morning by unidentified firing as government forces raided a Sahar District insurgent hideout.

Parliament Speaker Sheikh Abdullah Bin Hussein Al-Ahmar sent a letter at week's end to the negotiation committee, demanding it quickly reach an agreement with Al-Houthi followers. Sheikh Al-Ahmar said the committee deadlocked, as it was formed on an ethnic basis and did not include national forces, as had the previous one.

According to a Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) leader wishing to remain anonymous, the main objective in excluding political parties and organizations and civil community organizations from the committee was to obscure any information about crimes and human rights abuses. He confirmed that there are many officials benefiting from government's incapability to end the Sa'ada clashes.

He believes political leadership disavowed responsibility for the committee, thought of as a missionary carrying a message and having limited capabilities which it must not exceed in negotiating with Al-Houthi supporters.

He pointed out that the two sides reached a cease-fire during negotiations, but government forces did not keep their commitment to the agreement, leading Al-Houthi followers to perceive negotiations as futile, particularly as no neutral parties were involved.

The JMP leader said if the government is serious about solving disputes and ending clashes in the area, it should refer the issue of anti-U.S. and anti-Israel slogans chanted by Al-Houthi followers after Friday Prayer to Parliament to end the dispute. Such slogans continue intentionally to eliminate ethnic clerics in Sa'ada and draw public attention away from corruption cases and other domestic issues.

Two Al-Houthi followers escaped Friday from Criminal Investigations' Detention in Sana'a. Suspects Abdullah Al-Hakim and Taha Ali escaped six months after their arrest for plotting terrorist attacks. They are members of Al-Houthi's Sana'a Cell, a source told September Net. He added that the suspects' escape constitutes a flagrant failure on the part of security apparatuses.

Authorities detained Al-Hakim's father and Ali's father and brother based on substantial evidence that they helped the suspects escape.