[QODLink]
Middle East

Yemeni rebels capture northern city

Houthi fighters take control of Amran after weeks of fighting soldiers and Sunnis from one of Yemen's largest tribes.

Last updated: 09 Jul 2014 08:09
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback

Fighters from a Yemeni Shia rebel group have taken control of a northwestern city where they have been fighting for weeks with conservative Sunnis from one of the country's largest tribes, government and military officials have said.

The officials said the rebels seized control of the city of Amran, about 70km north of the capital Sanaa, on Tuesday, deploying fighters and vehicles at government offices, banks and shops.

Witnesses said fighters from the Hashid tribal confederation, one of Yemen's largest, allied with the country's Muslim Brotherhood group, the Islah party, were nowhere to be seen in the city.

During weeks of fighting, the tribesmen were backed by a local army unit. But the officials and witnesses said the rebel fighters did not storm or take over the military camps in the city.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak to the media.

The Shia Houthis were backed by other local tribes in Amran province, including disgruntled members of the Hashid and members of another large tribal confederation, Bakil.

Mohammed Abdul-Salam, a spokesman for the Houthi rebels, said his group had no intention of replacing the government in the city, adding that it was only fighting what he called an extremist group.

Bodies littered ground

Many people have been killed during the fighting, with the Yemeni Red Crescent estimating that 15,000 families have fled the violence.

Witnesses said bodies littered the ground on Tuesday, following days of fighting over control of the city.

There has so far been no official statement of the number of casualties.

Tribal leader Khaled al-Haidari, a member of the Bakil tribal confederation, said the city of Amran was celebrating the defeat of the Hashid fighters.

"Amran will celebrate today the fall of the corrupt tyrants," he said, adding that for years the province's dominant Hashid clan had been plundering its resources.

There was no immediate comment from the Hashid or the central government in Sanaa.

317

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.