Sanaa: Fresh clashes between Shiite Huthi
rebels and army-backed tribes in north Yemen killed 20 people,
a tribal official said today, bringing to at least 69 the
death toll in five days of fighting that has rattled a fragile
"Violent clashes took place overnight between Huthis and
the Bin Aziz tribes... leaving 20 dead from both sides," the
Yemeni army forces deployed in the area intervened to
break up the fighting in Harf Sufyan in the northern Amran
province, he added.
The rebels used "different types of weapons" in their
attempt to control several locations and tighten a siege on
Bin Aziz villages, said the official, speaking on condition of
Tribal and rebel sources had said on Wednesday that at
least 49 people had been killed since fighting broke out on
Tribal sources had said the confrontations involved the
Huthis and supporters of tribal chief Sheikh Sagheer Aziz, but
the rebels said the clashes were with the army, not the tribe.
Aziz, the tribal chief, is a member of the parliamentary
bloc of the ruling General People`s Congress party.
A total of 62 MPs meanwhile have signed a petition
demanding the government "assume responsibility for ending
violations committed by the Huthis," and threatening to
suspend their parliamentary membership if the authorities
failed to help Aziz.
Amran and neighbouring Saada province have seen sporadic
clashes between the rebels and government-backed tribes.
The Huthis complain of political, social and religious
marginalisation, and have repeatedly fought with government
forces in a conflict that began in 2004, killing thousands and
displacing some 250,000 people.
After six rounds of fighting between government forces
and the Huthis since 2004, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh
earlier this month ruled out another conflict with the rebels.
"There are no indicators for a seventh war," Saleh told a
news conference, saying that would be "totally unacceptable."
The Huthis and the government have repeatedly exchanged
accusations of violating a February ceasefire which ended the
latest round of conflict between the two sides.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia became embroiled in the
military fight in November after it accused the rebels of
infiltrating its borders, killing one guard and occupying two