Gunmen try to free arms dealer

In an apparent attempt to release Faris Mana'a, Yemen's top arms dealer (now under arrest), his relatives opened fireyesterday on a police convoy taking him to court. The driver of a passing mini-bus was killed.

Mana'a served for some time as head of the committee mediating between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels, while allegedly simultaneously supplying the rebels with weapons. His brother was governor of Saada province, where the rebellion originated.

He was named in a list of illegal arms traffickers issued by the Yemeni government last October and was also named in connection with a Chinese weapons ship discovered at Hodeida port around the same time.

Last month his assets were frozen by the US Treasury on the grounds that he "has directly or indirectly supplied, sold or transferred to Somalia arms or related material in violation of the arms embargo".

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 12 May 2010.