Friday, 25 December 2009

Tribesmen blockade Al Houthi rebels

By Nasser Arrabyee/26/12/2009

More than 20 Al Houthi rebels were killed in Al Matamah area in the neighboring province of Al Jawf where local tribesmen failed an attempt by Al Houthi rebels, fleeing from Sa'ada, to position in a mountain, local sources said Saturday.

The Yemeni warplane bombed their hideouts in Matamah more than 10 times before the tribesmen attacked the place killing more than 20 and injuring 30 others and forcing the remaining to retreat, said the source who is participating in the attack against the rebels.

Over the last few weeks, Al Houthi rebels have been trying to push some of Al Jawf tribesmen, dissatisfied with the government over development issues, to fight with them or at least to provide a haven for their elements escaping from the blockaded Sa'ada.

"The tribesmen are determined to foil any attempt by the rebels who want to drag some people here to the rebellion," said Yahya Al Kuh, member of the local council in Al Jawf.

"What happened today is a good example, the tribesmen, all the tribesmen including those who are sympathetic with Al Houth rebels, were very angry when a group of rebels who escaped from Sa'ada tried to position in a mountain overlooking the Shulan tribes' area."

"They killed them all and destroyed the position; we do not want any rebellion here," Al Kuha said.

Earlier on Friday, the Shulan tribesmen, Al Hussein and Al Hubaishi, who absolutely refuse any armed rebellion in their areas, killed the field leader Haidarah Al Sufyani, and four of his comrades. After this incident, the remaining rebels who escaped from Sa'ada and some tribesmen who support them tried unsuccessfully to control the mountain of Al Wade'e, which overlooks the villages of the Shulan tribes.

Meanwhile, more than 40 Al Houthi rebels surrendered in Harf Sufyan, military and tribal sources said Friday.

The surrenders came after tribal mediators guaranteed that those who surrender would return to their families as normal citizens. The state-run TV showed those who surrendered expressing their repentance and their readiness to fight against the rebels. All of them are from of tribe Shahwan, and names of 36 of them were published.

The army has been calling the misled rebels to surrender in return for protection and returning home safely.

These developments came amid romors that the top leader of the rebels Abdul Malik Al Houthi died after he was seriously injured in air strike last week.

On December 17th, the army said the warplanes implemented raids on the house of Kasem Mahdi Al Hafad in Wadi Al Hebal, Sakain district, where Abdul Malik and number of rebels were staying. The army, at the time, said Abdul Malik was serious injured. Al Houthi denied the news as untrue.

The fate of the top leader is still unclear as many observes are skeptical why he did not show up any more after that news in video to prove that he is still alive.

For their part, Al Houthi rebels said in a statement sent to email Friday, that Saudi warplanes implemented Friday and Thursday night 73 raids on areas not in the border with Saudi Arabia, but inside Sa'ada, like Al Talh, Dhahyan and Sahar.

The Yemeni warplanes bomb these places almost every day.

Al Houthi rebels said they counted 740 missiles on Al Malahaid and Razeh on Friday.

Those accusations came after Saudi forces declared that they cleaned their lands from Al Houthi infiltrators, who did not exploit the 48-hour ultimatum to withdraw.

Saudi monarch, King Abdullah Bin Abdul Azeez, said Saturday in an interview with a Kuwaiti newspaper that Saudi forces drove out all Al Houthi infiltrators from the Saudi lands. "Praise be to Allah Almighty, we have totally driven back the infiltrators from our lands and we have achieved complete victory," said Saudi monarch in the interview with Kuwaiti paper Al Syasiah.

Dozens of Al Houthi rebels were killed and injured after a Saudi ground attack supported by warplanes on Al Jabiri area late Thursday after the blockaded rebels refused to surrender, according to Saudi sources Friday.

Last week, the Saudi army had given Al Houthi rebels a 48-hour ultimatum to withdraw or surrender, which ended about 2 pm Thursday December 23.

About two hours after the end of the ultimatum, the Saudi army implemented a big attack on Al Jabiri area and Al Batool Mountain, according to the Saudi local website Jazan news.

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