Peace agreement between Houthis and Islah party fails
In Hajoor Al-Sham, one mother along with her five children died on Monday when Houthi fighters launched heavy attacks on populated areas east of Hajja governorate, according to tribal sources.
Violent clashes between the Houthis and Hajoor tribes in the district of Kushar have continued since last November in the east of Hajja governorate which borders Sa’ada, the Houthis’ stronghold.
Sheikh Zaid Arjash, spokesman of the Hajoor tribes, told media outlets that the Houthis attacked populated areas in Ahem using mortars. Violent clashes there have led to the displacement of thousands of local citizens, according to people from the area and international rights groups.
“One woman and her five children were killed when shells were launched upon her house in the Rakeb area,” he added, before accusing the Houthi group of attacking populated villages and markets.
Arjash said the Houthis have bombarded water wells as media and human rights organizations have been completely absent.
The tribal leader confirmed that the clashes have been taking place since Friday evening, even after a ceasefire agreement was brokered on Thursday between political parties.
He said that the tribesmen have different weapons than those belonging to the Houthi fighters, and pointed out that the latter engaged in six wars with the Yemeni government forces from 2004 to 2009 and that they possess heavy weapons.
Arjash demanded that the Yemeni government assume its responsibility for what is happening in Hajja, and also called upon media and rights groups to shoulder their responsibilities.
For its part, the Yemeni Interior Ministry said that three tribesmen were killed and four others wounded as a result of confrontations with the Houthi group, and accused the Houthi fighters of shelling and completely demolishing a government jail in Ahem.
On its online website, the ministry said the Houthis sustained numerous casualties, and added that the group attempts to conceal the number of its victims.
The eruption of clashes occurred simultaneously with crossfire between the Houthis and armed men from the hard-line Salafi group in some areas in Sa’ada.
The Salafists’ center is in the district of Damaj, two Kilometers south of Sa’ada and where their religion’s stronghold has existed since the mid-1980s.
The Houthis have accused the Islamist Islah party – the main party in the Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) – of being involved with fighting in Hajja, affirming in a statement distributed to the media that some fighters affiliated with Islah work to provoke sedition.
The Islah party has also been accused of being behind the failure of the agreement reached on Thursday with tribes in Hajoor, with a Houthi statement adding that regional powers attempt to provoke conflicts.
The Houthi group also criticized the Interior Ministry, saying in a statement that the ministry had sided with the “aggressors,” denying, in the meanwhile, the ministry’s own statement.
The Houthi group dubbed the Interior Ministry’s “ominous.”
Houthis’ weapons supply
The Iranian Embassy in Yemen meanwhile strongly criticized news reports from some media outlets which stated that Iran provided the Houthis with assortments of weapons lately since 2009, and hinted that it would send a complaint to the Yemeni Foreign Affairs Ministry.
The Iranian Deputy Ambassador to Yemen, told the Yemen Times that some Yemeni newspapers and websites reported that an Iranian ship provided weapons to the Houthis, before denying these reports and calling them “groundless.”
“This is the restoration of an old issue; we don’t know the reasons behind it in these days, except that it is an attempt to provoke hatred among Yemenis against Iran,” he added.
“We issued a statement on Oct. 10, 2009 in which we affirmed that the seizure of the ship was illegal… as the ship was empty of any commodities. We have documents that prove this, and the ship’ manifest confirms that,” he said. “The ship was en route to the Red Sea, the Mediterranean Sea, the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea for the continuation of its business.”
“The ship stayed a week at the Omani Salalah Port after the death of one of its crew, an Indian national. It left the port in the direction of the Caspian Sea after its legal procedures were completed,” read the statement.
Colonel Ahmed Mishly, director of the Yemeni Coastguard’s Sea Sector, stated that the Iranian ship, Haman, was seized on Dec. 9, 2009 at Midi port while being loaded with different types of weapons. In a statement to Al-Jumhoria state-run newspaper, Mishly said that Sana’a’s Specialized Penal Appeal Court had issued a sentence that the ship be sold at public auction.
Mishly said the ship’s crew was released three months ago, and said that the public auction would be held after February.