New Houthi war 'imminent'

The ceasefire agreement that halted the all-out conflict between the Yemeni government and the Houthi rebels last February seems to be gradually breaking down. A headline in the Yemen Observer predicts that a seventh round in the war is "imminent".

The paper quotes Houthi sources as saying that an army brigade has arrived in Saada "with 30 military carriers carrying armored vehicles, ammunition and materiel, in addition to 20 tanks and numerous military vehicles".

"The continuation of reinforcements to Saada after the sixth round ended reflects the aggressive intentions of the authority," a statement from the rebels said.

Since the truce was announced five months ago,  arguments have continued about implementing the terms of the ceasefire agreement and little or nothing has been done to address the underlying causes of the conflict.

Many of the people who fled their homes during the last round of fighting are still living in camps and the UNHCR says it has received only $24m of the $52m needed to help internally displaced persons and refugees in Yemen during 2010.

Meanwhile, a Yemeni freelance journalist who was abducted at gunpoint outside a restaurant in Sanaa on Sunday was released yesterday.

According to a witness, three armed men jumped out of a car and forced Abdulelah Shai into the vehicle which then sped off. The police were called and began an investigation.

Initial reports suggested he had been kidnapped by a tribe with al-Qaeda connections, but on his release Shai said he had been 
taken in for questioning by the government's Political Security Organisation. "I was interrogated for six hours about comments I made to newspapers and international media on al-Qaeda organisation and its activities in Yemen," he said, adding that he had been kept handcuffed and blindfolded.

Posted by Brian Whitaker, 13 July 2010.