Sa’ada confrontations resume [Archives:2007/1079/Front Page]
By: Mohammed Bin Sallam
SA'ADA, Aug. 22 ) Army forces launched Sunday a violent attack on some mountains north of Sahar district controlled by Houthi loyalists. According to locals in the district, the army used heavy mortar shells targeting large groups of Houthi loyalists who were seen heading to those mountains. The same evening, gun shots were heard in adjacent areas. So far no causalities on either side have been reported.
This charge comes in the wake of accusations directed by Abdul Malik Al-Houthi against the army, which were delivered earlier to the presidential committee and Qatari delegates assigned to supervise implementation of the ceasefire agreement that was supposed to end the 8-month conflict.
A local source confirmed that Houthis were preparing themselves for the resuming of war and were transporting large quantities of food, which they have stored in the areas and mountains of Al-Naqa'a, north of Sa'ada.
At a time when most Sa'ada residents live in panic, Houthi loyalists attacked a military vehicle in Dhahyan city, killing two soldiers and wounding four.
Confrontations are still occurring between Houthi loyalists and tribesmen in some areas of Haidan where Houthi followers accuse many of the military units of supporting and encouraging followers of Sheik Hussein Ahmed Bin Hesham an influencial figure in Sa'ada to attack Houthis. This charge comes in the wake of accusations directed by Abdul Malik Al-Houthi against the army, which were delivered earlier to the presidential committee and Qatari delegates assigned to supervise implementation of the ceasefire agreement.
War spilling over to other governorates
Qatari delegates attempted to settle disputes between Houthis and the government in order not to allow the war to expand into other governorates. Yet the mediation failed and clashes between the state and the Houthis commence again. The government holds Houthis accountable for the failed negotiations, while the Houthis accuse the government of not be sincere in allowing political plurality in the country. This came amid a substantive media attack on the Houthis, despite the agreement to cease media campaigns between the two sides.
Groups of military vehicles patrol Sa'ada on a daily basis, carrying weapons and ammunition, in addition to helicopters that reached the governorate the beginning of the this week.
State officials admitted to increased security measures all over the country because of the political and social turmoil, especially in the southern and eastern governorates of Yemen. The increasing number of protests staged in more than one governorate due to the deteriorated economic situations has added extra burden on President Saleh.
The president had displayed his commitment to ending the war in Sa'ada in more than one public statement during the last few weeks especially that information on the financial expense of the war has leaked to the public reaching as high as two billion US dollars.
Sources from Sa'ada governorate reported that five sons and grandsons of the scholar Badr Al-Deen Al-Houthi, founder of the cult, started a hunger strike inside the political prison in Sana'a, protesting against their detainment without charge since the beginning of this year.
Fighting between government forces and al-Houthi followers in Sa'ada first broke out in 2004. Fierce clashes at intervals over the past three years have claimed the lives of more than 700 government forces and wounded about 5,300, and displaced more than 60,000 Yemenis from their homes..