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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 16 January 2019

Houthi leader threatens World Food Program after aid looting allegation

The rebels are accused of stealing aid intended for starving Yemenis

Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels attend a gathering to show their support for the Sweden peace talks. AP
Tribesmen loyal to Houthi rebels attend a gathering to show their support for the Sweden peace talks. AP

The leader of the Iran-backed Houthi rebels responded to accusations by the UN’s food agency that they were stealing aid from civilians and diverting deliveries.

The World Food Programme said on Monday it collected evidence showing that the rebels diverted shipments of food sent to help ease Yemen’s humanitarian crisis and were stealing “from the mouths of hungry people”.

Mohammed Al Houthi, head of the Supreme Revolutionary Council, said the World Food Programme’s statements were “politicised”.

Mr Al Houthi said the agency “did not communicate officially” with the rebels about the theft. He threatened to retaliate against the body and said it did not provide enough food for the Yemeni people.

He accused international organisations in Yemen of being political, singling out staff in the office of the UN envoy to Yemen.

Mr Al Houthi threatened to prosecute the food agency for providing poor-quality food that was rejected by the Houthi government.

Meanwhile, a woman was killed and another severely injured when a Houthi sniper shot them in the village of Al Ouksh in Hays province south of Hodeidah on Monday, witness Faisal Durami told The National.

Mr Durami said that Rana Awadh, 40, was shot dead by a Houthi sniper while she was trying to get water at night with a neighbour, who was severely injured.

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“The Houthis escalated their aggressive shelling against the civilians in the district of Hays in southern Hodeidah,” Mr Duraimi said. “Exploiting the halt in the city, they keep shelling randomly over the residences.

“They know that no forces affiliated with the resistance are in the south-west of Hays.”

Dozens of families were displaced on Monday in the southern Hodeidah district of Al Duraihmi, as they escaped heavy Houthi shelling on their homes, residents said.

They said the Houthis had shelled the area with mortars and field guns that caused major damage to their homes and cattle.

Many families walked along the main route that links the southern areas of Hodeidah with the city centre, waving for military vehicles to give them rides to Al Khokhah and Mokha.

In the eastern parts of Hodeidah, the Houthis continued their breaches of the UN-sponsored ceasefire.

Aseel Al Sakladi, spokesman for Al Amalikah Brigades, said the Houthi militia continued shelling vehicles from government and allied forces who were claring roads and reopening the route in Kilo 16.

The road clearing was part of the deal agreed to with Patrick Cammaert, the head of the Reconciliation Co-ordination Committee that is monitoring the ceasefire and withdrawal of troops from Hodeidah city and its port.

Updated: January 1, 2019 07:28 PM

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