The misery of the Sa’ada WarAttack and retreat, hundreds of victims [Archives:2004/766/Front Page]

August 23 2004

Mohammed bin Sallam
Despite repeated official statements that the bloody clashes between the military (supported by heavy machinery) and the followers of Sheikh Hussein Badr Al-Din Al-Houthi, which have lasted for over seventy days, are over, the utterly miserable condition in Mran area spells out something else.
Reports from Sa'ada confirm that until the time of writing this article, the war is still continuing fiercely.
Well-informed sources told the Yemen Times on Saturday August 21st that bloody clashes had killed five hundred people in the previous two days, three hundred of whom were innocent civilians – children, women, and old men – and the rest were two hundred followers of Sheikh Al-Houthi. The source said losses to the government's forces surpass that since they carry out the offensive.
Political observers expressed their astonishment at the official declaration that operations had ceased while the war is still aflame, and military and civilian victims are continuing to fall, let alone the official disregard of the pitiful conditions in which the people of the embattled area are forced to live.
Sa'ada has turned into a battlefield, and the local and legal authority has been entrusted to military commanders and tribal chieftains of tribes supporting the military force, observers said.
Al-Sahwa Net reported on Thursday August 19th that Al-Houthi's supporters have been entrenched in Salman Mountain, between the Al-Hakmi Mountain and Mran. The military forces had intensively bombarded the Al-Hamki Mountain lest it fell again to Al-Houthi's forces.
Other sources reported that a number of tribes who met with the president and pledged to him their allegiance, have undone their agreement in an exceptional meeting last Friday. The tribes (especially the Na'elah tribes who belong to the Shiite Ismaili sect and live on the Yemeni-Saudi border), have decided to remain neutral, and to withdraw their members from fighting with Al-Houthi.