Yemen's Houthis print edition of flagship state daily

Apart from their move at Hodeida port, the Houthis have sacked four provincial governors, the editor of the main state newspaper al-Thawra and the commander of the special forces.

Yemen's Houthis print edition of flagship state daily
World Bulletin/News Desk
 Journalists linked to Yemen's Shiite Houthi group have printed Wednesday's edition of flagship state daily Al-Thawra – despite a government order to suspend printing after Houthi militants seized the newspaper's office a day earlier.

A source from the newspaper told The Anadolu Agency that pro-Houthi journalists Osama Sari and Faisal Modhish had overseen printing of the Wednesday edition in defiance of a suspension order issued earlier the same day by Information Minister Nadia al-Saqaf.

"Today's edition of [Al-Thawra] was issued in the absence of any oversight by the editorial board," al-Saqaf was quoted as saying by Al-Gomhouriya, another state-run newspaper.

"News and other material in Wednesday's edition do not represent the government," she asserted.

She said that a number of pro-Houthi journalists from outside the newspaper – with the help of certain Al-Thawra employees – had produced Wednesday's "illegitimate" edition.

Yemen's newspaper union said Modhish had attempted to convince the newspaper's reporters and editors to contribute to Wednesday's edition, but that they had refused to cooperate with him.

The union rejected Houthi claims that the Tuesday seizure of the newspaper's office had been in order to "combat corruption" on the part of the paper's senior editors.

It went on to urge the authorities to intervene in order to end the Houthis' control of the office.

Houthi militants on Tuesday stormed the newspaper's office in Sanaa's Hasba district, telling Editor-in-Chief Faisal Makram – who the group accuses of corruption – not to bother coming to work.

Control over Yemen state institutions

Since taking control of the capital in late September, the Houthis have sought to expand their influence to other parts of the country.

Houthis sacked top managers of the country's second largest port and the main oil company on Wednesday, staff said, in the latest move by the Shi'ite Muslim group to consolidate its hold on state institutions.

The Houthis, who became the de facto power in Yemen in September when they captured the capital Sanaa, portray their move as a revolution against corruption and embezzlement which they say was emptying state coffers.

Officials at Hodeida port said Houthi fighters on Wednesday blocked the director of the facility, Yemen's main Red Sea harbour where most of the country's food imports arrive, with a view to replacing him.

"The staff were so angry that they walked out in a demonstration and closed off the port," a port official said by telephone.

Later on Wednesday, about 20 Houthi fighters broke into the state-run Safer oil company in Sanaa, kicked out the director and his deputy and locked their offices, company officials said.

Yemeni officials said the moves appear to be part of a systematic drive by the Houthis to tighten their grip on power, bypassing the government nominated by Prime Minister Khaled Bahah in November.

Officials say the Houthis are getting support from former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was sanctioned last month by the U.N. Security Council for threatening Yemen's peace and stability, a charge he has denied.

"It is clear that the Houthis, together with Ali Abdullah Saleh, are completing their (September) 21 coup," said Sultan al-Atwani, an adviser to President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Saleh loyalists held up a parliamentary meeting which was meant to confirm Bahah's government, demanding the reopening of offices belonging to their General People's Congress which they said had been shut by authorities in southern Yemen.

Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi earlier lashed out at Hadi, saying he was sanctioning corruption, and demanded that he hand control of state bodies to the Houthis so that they could ensure that "funds are not wasted."


Güncelleme Tarihi: 17 Aralık 2014, 15:48