Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi on Sunday called on Shiite Houthi militants to pull out of all of cities, including the capital Sanaa, without delay.
In his most vociferous criticism against the Shiite group, Hadi in a televised address described the group’s seizure of Yemen’s state institutions as a kind of “occupation.”
He also called on the Houthis not to shirk their responsibility for their country’s security and stop using “false excuses” to continue occupying state institutions and petroleum companies.
“Only Yemen’s army has the right to fight terrorism in it,” Hadi said, apparently in reference to a pronounced justification used by the Houthis that they fight against radical Islamists in the central Yemeni province of Al-Bayda’ and other Yemeni provinces.
In his address that came on the sidelines of a meeting with Yemen’s National Defense Council, his advisors and prime minister-designate Khaled Bahah, Hadi said the army would maintain its efforts in fighting extremists and terrorist groups nationwide.
Houthis and Al-Qaeda have been fighting over control in Al-Bayda’ for several days now. The Shiite movement has been controlling the Yemeni capital Sanaa since September 21, and is now moving to extend its control to other areas.
Yemen has been in turmoil since a popular uprising that erupted in 2011 ousted long-serving president Ali Abdullah Saleh one year later.