Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Yemen denies capture by rebels of republican guards

Source: AFP

The Yemeni defence ministry has denied that Shiite rebels in the north of the country have captured soldiers from the army's republican guards, the state news agency Saba reported on Wednesday.

Claims that the rebels known as Huthis captured 200 republican guards "are unfounded," the agency said on its website quoting a defence ministry spokesman.

"The republican guards have no presence in the alleged posts," the spokesman said. It was not clear however if soldiers from another unit had been captured by rebels in northern Yemen.

On Tuesday, a military official told AFP the "Huthi (rebels) captured 200 soldiers," who he said "belong to regiment 72 of the army's republican guards."

The soldiers were reportedly captured after rebels took control on Monday of a strategic army post in Al-Zaala, in Amran province, where rebels and army-backed tribes had been engaged in deadly fighting.

The clashes erupted on July 19 and lasted nine days, rattling an already fragile truce agreed in February that ended a six-month round of fighting in the conflict between the rebels and the army, which started in 2004.

The Huthis and the government blame one another of violating the truce.

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