Local News Political Analysis

Civilians Caught in Crossfire in al-Habilain

Army forces are still stationed at the entrance of the city of Al-Habilain in Radfan, Lahj governorate for the seventh consecutive day since the army bombarded the city, its nearby mountain and the neighboring villages.

Sources in Al-Habilain told National Yemen that the entire city is controlled by armed elements and that they are deployed in it to confront the army forces, which have been stationed at the entrance of the city for days for the purpose of taking the city.

The same sources said that hundreds of families have left the city to avoid the army’s strikes, while many families remain because they could not leave.

Al-Habilain lives in a state of panic under the artillery strikes that fall upon the city often. The movement in the streets is small during the day, no more than a few dozen shoppers.

At night the lights from the cannons and the sound of bullets that come from the positions of armed groups enter the city at night, as armed elements of the Southern Movement there and attack the army stationed around the city.

Thousands of soldiers, provided with armored vehicles and artillery, are deployed in the Jamal region in Radfan, about one kilometer from the city of Al-Habilain, and most of them are young and the army forces them to fight in hot areas.

According to local sources in the region, the armed elements are trying to draw the army to the center of the city after they have withdrawn from positions under their control in mountains and hills near Al-Habilain in preparation for guerrilla warfare.

The army has imposed a firm siege on the city of Al-Habilain after the security and army forces gave the residents notice to evacuate.

In a joint statement issued by Ali Salem Al-Beidh and Hasan Ba Awm, major Southern leaders, they praised the “heroic battles” and gave it the name “Day of Fury,” stressing in their statement their determination to continue civil disobedience and resistance of the army.

A local source in Radfan said that more than five members of one family were injured after a missile had fallen on their house in Malah Al-Qasha’ah in the city of Al-Habilain last Tuesday afternoon, after they went out in a large demonstration in the city of Al-Habilain in response to the call of both Ali Salem Al-Beid and Hasan Ba Awm.

There were reports of three soldiers being kidnapped, while the situation has been tense in the besieged city since September 16 of last year.

Al-Habilain city had witnessed a bloody day last Sunday, after the army dispersed a demonstration organized by the southern movement on the occasion of the elapsing of one month since the beginning of the military siege imposed on the city, which led to the injury of ten civilians and the killing of a woman.

Two soldiers were killed and six other injured in an ambush set up by armed elements in the Al-Jad’aa region, to the south of al-Habilain last Monday.

The killings and assassinations of government forces continues by elements of the armed southern movement. Citizens found a dead body riddled with bullets last Wednesday morning in Radfan that was in the valley near Al-Habilain, belonging to Faisal Yahya Abdul-Karim from Ibb province. He was identified by his election card that was found on the body.

The armed southern movement has denied committing the murders and killings.  In a statement, they denounced what they called the series of unknown dead bodies and the killing that occurs to deface the reputation of the “sons of Radfan” and their “great historical struggle,” in addition to defaming the reputation of the southern movement in Radfan.

The statement said that the authorities are the only beneficiaries from that and it is the only body that can fabricate such stories, according to the sources of the southern movement.

For their part, the authorities accused the southern movement of killing northern citizens under the pretext that they work for the state. It also accuses elements in the southern movement of committing such acts.

Our sources in the Al-Habilain confirm that armed elements of the southern movement and even al-Qaeda have control over the city and are spread out  in it to confront army forces.

In light of these events, citizens of Radfan currently residing in Aden issued a statement in which they called on “the sons of Radfan who are in Sana’a and in the other provinces to stand by their families against the military campaign targeting their region.”