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Tribes Clash with Houthis in Saada

A gun battle occurred between a number of aHouthi elements and gunmen from Al Abdin tribe led by Sheikh Osman Majali Rehan in the southern part of Saada governorate.  Hostilities allegedly began on the evening of last Thursday and continued into the afternoon of the next day.

Eyewitnesses reported that two of the tribesmen were killed, and more than five others were injured, two of them severely.  The number of casualties in the ranks of the Houthis remains unknown.  During the exchange of fire, a number of houses from which the Houthis were shooting were destroyed.

The clashes, which involved the use of light weapons, machine guns, and RPGs, reportedly began when one of Al Abdin tribesmen was killed while accompanying a local mediation committee to settle a dispute between the two parties, led by Sheikh Ali Nasser Qrshah and a number of notables from the Rahban region last Monday.

The clashes were the second of their kind in a week. In the middle of last week, an armed man from Al Abdin was killed by a group of Houthi gunmen, as he had strayed into their territory.  Two Houthi partisans were killed in the gun battle.

The tension between the two parties rose in mid-December of last year, after a member of Al Abdin named Ali Manna fired on Houthi partisans while they were performing their Friday prayers in the mosque. The clash resulted in the death of one of their ranks, and they remained besieged in the mosque till night.

Deputy Interior Minister, Mohammad Fadel al-Qawsi, carried out mediation which led to the suspension of the confrontations between the Houthis and the Al Abdin tribes. It reached a truce for four months, but it broke down after only one.