Sa’ada war continues into Ramadan [Archives:2007/1085/Front Page]

September 13 2007

Mohammad bin Sallam
SA'ADA, September 12 ) Sa'ada rebel leader Abdul-Malik Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi has released five military prisoners of war, tribal and media sources said. This is the second time Al-Houthi sets prisoners free. Some 91 prisoners had been freed earlier.

Al-Houthi handed over the five prisoners last Friday to a Sa'ada chieftain. The prisoners had been captured during the first days of recent war re-eruption and have been released on the occasion of the holy month of Ramdan and on humane basis.

The State did not claim their release via the Mediation Committee or other mediators nor did it stipulate conditions in Al-Doha Pact for freeing military and tribal prisoners held by the Houthists. It did not mention there were prisoners with Al-Houthi either.

Concerning the status in the field, tribal sources said the military continued to bombard Jum'a bin Fadhil villages with artillery throughout last Monday. No injuries among civilians had been reported by Tuesday night. The sources claimed the military bombard Al-Houthi positions in order to disturb their peace of mind and consequently compel them to leave. However, the Houthists would not react but remain in their hideouts and forts.

On the other hand, said tribal gunmen are besieging an area on Sana'a-Sa'ada road somewhere in Harf Sifian as of Tuesday morning.

The source added the tribesmen who fought together with the Army against the Houthists in the last Sa'ada war, set up checkpoints at Al-Amaishah in Harf Sifian area because the military leaders failed to fulfill their promise to grant them military ranks and pay them salaries.

Numerous tribesmen fought alongside the Army against the Houthists under the promise of getting military ranks, joining the Army and pensioning the injured of them but the State has not kept its word, the source said.

Meanwhile, the Spanish organization of Doctors Without Borders (DWB) declared last Sunday its intention to provide human aids to the displaced people within Sa'ada province.

“The organization has signed an agreement with the Yemeni government, represented by the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation in Sana'a concerning its operations as well as a sub-agreement with the Ministry of Health,” a DWB official told the media.

“The organization's activities are focused on three areas: providing human assistance for the refugees and displaced due to Sa'ada war; providing medicine, treatment and water for them or for people affected by disasters such as torrential rain; and providing the same assistance for critically urgent cases (casualties from tribal conflicts and traffic accidents),” the official explained.

Concerning the progress of negotiations between the State and Al-Houthi, well-informed sources stated that the committees responsible for the end-war mediation, have suspended their efforts until after Ramadan. The Qatari team, a main negotiation party, had left Sana'a earlier this month and promised to resume mediation after Ramadan.

Meanwhile, the State still tries to disconnect telephone communications in the province and deny the people the right to communicate through mobiles and the Internet despite the cautious calmness around the province.

The security authorities are striking a siege on some areas where the Houthists have a presence. This makes the locals unable to have access to the necessaries such as food, medicine, etc. With Ramadan coming and winter looming, many observers believe the human situation would exacerbate.