Yemen, Houthis clashes kill six in north, strains truce

Six people were killed in clashes between Shi'ite fighters and government-allied tribesmen in north Yemen, rebel and tribal sources said.

Yemen, Houthis clashes kill six in north, strains truce

 

Six people were killed in clashes between Shi'ite fighters and government-allied tribesmen in north Yemen, rebel and tribal sources said on Tuesday, in violence that could undermine the region's uneasy four-month truce.

Yemen's government agreed a February truce with the Houthi rebels, named after their leaders' clan, to halt a war that has raged on and off since 2004 and displaced 250,000 people.

The ceasefire has largely held, but spikes of violence evoke fears of growing instability in a country that neighbours top oil exporter Saudi Arabia, which was briefly drawn into the war last year when rebels seized Saudi border areas.

Tribal sources from the northern village of Bani Awair said that Houthi rebels entered the village by force and tried to take over a school. The rebels clashed with pro-government villagers, killing one villager and wounding six, they said.

UNICEF's Yemen representative in May condemned school seizures by both rebels and pro-government tribal forces.

Geere Cappelaere told Reuters the occupation of schools had been a common tactic during the war, and may indicate that the fragile truce was in jeopardy.

The Houthis, who complain of religious and socioeconomic discrimination by the government, said on Tuesday they were responding to two ambush attacks in their northern stronghold of Saada on Monday, which killed five fighters and wounded five.

"The government holds complete responsibility for what its militias do, from violations and ambushes to cutting roads. These acts do not serve peace," a Houthi statement said.

"The government must bear responsibility for the results of such actions," the statement said.

Government officials denied any responsibility, and said the incidents were tribal clashes.

Reuters

Last Mod: 02 Haziran 2010, 01:12
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