Houthi rebels in Yemen are using WhatsApp to spy on southern resistance soldiers, according Facebook posts and chatter on the ground identified by Vocativ analysts.
WhatsApp has been the mobile platform of choice for resistance fighters since at least 2013, when Vocativ reported that Syrian rebels had turned to Whatsapp to communicate under the oppressive Assad regime. In Yemen, the mobile messaging app is becoming a hugely valuable tool for the southern resistance. “It’s cheap, it works on all networks and it’s fast,” says Nazar Sraro, a volunteer paramedic for the anti-Houthi resistance.
But as the battle for Aden — a crucial Yemeni port — reaches fever pitch, the anti-Houthi resistance is warning its soldiers that some WhatsApp numbers may have been compromised.
Anti-Houthi leadership suspects that rebels killed several resistance fighters, seized their cell phones and began scrolling through confidential group chats. Members of the resistance are passing these suspicions around Facebook, calling on all soldiers to delete certain compromised numbers from their contacts, and generally remain vigilant on WhatsApp. “[The anti-Houthi soldiers are] very worried,” Sraro says. “they can’t do anything to avoid this risk, though.”