A Yemeni MP who is a representative of the country’s Shia Muslim Houthis in a dialogue for national reconciliation has been murdered and the convoy of a UN envoy trying to push forward the dialogue shot at.
Abdul Karim Jedban was shot dead by armed assailants on a motorbike on Friday as he left a mosque in the capital, Sanaa.
His death comes as gunmen fired shots at a convoy carrying the UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, on Friday. No one was hurt in the attack, a security source told the Reuters news agency.
The source said guards escorting the convoy had opened fire on the attackers who then fled the scene.
Benomar is trying to push forward a dialogue on national reconciliation, part of a power transfer deal prompted by mass protests in 2011 that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down after 33 years in office.
The talks have got stuck mainly on disagreement over demands by southern separatists to restore the state that merged with North Yemen in 1990.
Benomar, who played a key role in the power transfer deal, last week blamed elements of Saleh’s former administration for the problems facing the reconciliation talks.
He told Yemeni state television that the UN would punish those who tried to block the dialogue.
The attempts for reconciliation come amid a shaky ceasefire between Houthi rebels and hardline Sunnis in the country’s north.
Fighting broke out last month in the north Yemen town of Damaj when Houthis accused Salafist Sunni Muslims of recruiting thousands of foreign fighters and preparing to attack them.
More than 100 people have been killed in the fighting.
Houthi fighters control much of the northern Saada province, on the border with Saudi Arabia, which has been their base for a long-running rebellion against the government. Sectarian rivalry in Damaj is hampering reconciliation efforts.