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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 14 November 2018

Houthi rebels kidnap and kill one of their officials

The Iran-backed group is killing some of its officers, indicating a rift within the militia

Houthi supporters during the funeral of Houthi fighters allegedly killed during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen. Yahya Arhab / EPA
Houthi supporters during the funeral of Houthi fighters allegedly killed during clashes in Sanaa, Yemen. Yahya Arhab / EPA

The Houthi rebels in Yemen kidnapped and killed one of their security officials on Saturday, an indication of deepening rifts within the Iran-backed group fighting the internationally recognised government.

“The rebels stormed the small village of Al Ramah in the the Damt district in Al Dhale province in the southern part of the country and kidnapped security commander Abdulkareem Nashwan, who had been working with the rebels since they took over Damt district in 2015,” Ali Al Asmar, an Al Dhale-based journalist, told The National.

“They kidnapped him and five of his guards last week and executed him on Saturday after accusing him of being complicit with some of former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s loyalists.”

The Houthi rebels killed Saleh on December 4 after he broke off his alliance with them and called for talks with the Arab coalition fighting on behalf of the legitimate government of Yemen’s president Abdrabu Mansur Hadi. The rebels then launched a crackdown on his supporters that has seen hundreds killed or detained.

Meanwhile, an unidentified group of armed men killed two high-ranking Houthi officers in the capital Sanaa, which is controlled by the rebels, said a Sanaa resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

“One was killed in his house in the Asser area in the west of Sanaa last Wednesday and another was killed in the Sawan area to the east of Sanaa,” said the source.

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Meanwhile, the Yemeni military and resistance fighters seized more areas of Al Bayda province south of Sanaa, including a strategically important mountain in Natea district.

Troops and resistance fighters, backed by air support from the Saudi-led coalition, captured Markoozah mountain after heavy clashes with the Houthis in which dozens of the rebels were killed and five arrested, the Al Bayda resistance's media centre said.

The mountain commands the entire Natea district including the Al Fadha base, the rebels' most important military site in Al Bayda.

A source said pro-government forces also liberated Jabal Al Sada and the areas of Mawr and Malih from the rebels, many of whom were killed or injured in the fighting.

Government troops also made gains on the Al Buka battlefront in northern province of Saada, the Houthis' stronghold, cutting off a rebel supply route to neighbouring Jawf province.

"The army secured Souk Al Buka and Al Buka intersection along with the international highway which links Saada city with Al Buka district and Muthalah Al Batga in Jawf," said Ismail Al Shalafi, a spokesman for the government forces in the area.