By Nasser Arrabyee/06/08/2009
Sana'a- The Yemeni government said Thursday it would take a military actions to liberate schools and government buildings used as barracks by Al Houthi rebels in Sa'ada, north of the country.
"The security agencies and armed forces along with the citizens of Sa'ada will perform their constitutional duties to protect the citizens and their properties and cleansing the schools and health centers and governmental buildings from the criminals," said the country's highest security committee in a warning statement.
The statement came after information about fierce battles between the rebels and government troops in which dozens were killed and injured from both sides over this week.
"Since President Ali Abdullah Saleh ordered the halt of the military operations, the saboteurs and terrorists continued their attacks on the citizens and security forces, committing heinous crimes against everyone including elders, children and women, in addition to kidnapping, cutting roads, destroying houses," the statement added.
On July 17th, 2008, Saleh ordered the halt of the war which raged on and off since 2004.
The Al Houthi rebels said, however, they were only defending themselves and they do not want a new war.
"We only confronted aggressions on us, and we returned to our places. We do not want to go to a new war," said a statement sent to local media by Al Houthi.
"What we complain about is that the army is in the villages and farms, and the natural place for army is the camps not houses," the statement added.
"Many of us were killed and injured, the mediation committee did not do anything, the society did not do anything, and then we were forced to defend ourselves."
On his part, Mohammed Al Emad, deputy governor of Sa'ada called the State to protect the citizens from Al Houthi rebels.
"The State must protect its citizens and spread its influence all over the country, and it must secure the roads and cleanse the schools from the saboteurs and terrorists," Al Emad said.
" Al Houthi saboteurs stopped the education process by turning the schools to barracks and they cut roads causing farmers to lose millions and millions, and misled the young people to battles under illusive slogans."
The official also accused Al Houthis of stopping the reconstruction process in Sa'ada.
"The saboteurs of Al Houthi threatened the engineers and contractors who were reconstructing houses and schools, causing a halt of the reconstruction process," he said.
The official also denied that Al Houthis took control over the areas of Shada, Ghamer, and Sakain, west of the city of Sa'ada, where confrontations erupted over the last few days.