Yemen's Houthis kill five after village rejects conscription campaign

Yemen's Houthis kill five after village rejects conscription campaign
Yemen's Houthis kill five after village rejects conscription campaign

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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Five civilians including one woman have been killed and dozens injured after a local village in central Yemen refused to comply when Houthi rebels attempted to forcefully conscript local men.

The rebels targeted the small village of Al Masaqira in Al Hada district of central Yemen’s Damar province last Thursday, a governmental source told The National, but local people refused to join the militia.

“The Houthi rebels attacked the village of Al Masaqira and clashed with residents who refused to send their sons to the fronts to fight with them,” the source said. “The Houthi militia have killed five civilians and injured others so far in a campaign going on for three days.”

The source added that the militia sent more than 300 fighters backed by military vehicles to the village. “The militia forces imposed a siege around the village, arrested 146 villagers rounding up a prison in the centre of Al Hada district and forcibly displacing women and children, shelling residences of opponents in the village.”

They added that the indiscriminate shelling has burned three houses and destroyed several other residences in the village.

On Saturday, the Yemeni Minister of the Human Rights, Dr Mohammed Askar, condemned campaign against the residents of the village Al Masaqira and called on the international community to deal seriously with what he called the Houthi crimes.

The Yemeni government has condemned the Houthi campaign against the civilians and said they criticize the silence from the international community over the crimes perpetrated against those living under rebel control.

“I am surprised by the failure of the international community and the UN Security Council to take tough actions against the militia as they conduct such atrocities against unarmed civilians," Dr Askar said in the statement seen by The National.

"The international silence emboldens the militia to go on with such atrocities," he added.

Damar, in central Yemen nearly 100 kilometres south of Sanaa, it is a region still completely controlled by the Houthi rebels.

The Houthi militia have also intensified attacks against areas controlled by the Joint Forces in eastern and southern Hodeidah. Groups of Houthi militiamen attacked sites controlled Al Amalikah forces in Al Duraihimi district eastern Hodeidah on Saturday, Col Wathah Al Dubaish, the spokesperson of the Joint Forces, told The National.

“Groups of Houthi fighters with portable weapons attempted to penetrate our sites in Al Shagan village in eastern Al Duraihimi, east of the port city of Hodeidah, on Saturday evening,” he said. “The Houthi groups attacked our sites from different directions using RPGs and mortars, but their attempt was doomed to failure because our forces quickly repelled the attack amid fierce clashes continued for two hours, six Houthi fighters were killed amid the clashes.”

Meanwhile, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said on Sunday that they were able to deliver humanitarian goods to civilians in Al Duraihimi city after reports the Houthis had looted the supplies.

“The Houthi rebels forced the ICRC convoy to hand the aid supplies over to them without letting them to disrepute it to the starving people themselves, as the convoy left the area, the Houthi rebels took the aid supplies to their warehouses,” said Col Wathah Al Dubaish, a spokesman for government forces.

However, while the ICRC did not directly address the claim, an official insisted the recipients had received the aid.

“It was a complicated mission, including logistic challenges, but the ICRC was nevertheless able to enter the City of Al Duraihimi and deliver food, water, non-food and basic medical assistance,” an ICRC official told The National.

“For ICRC to be able to access and operate in an area close to frontlines the parties to the conflict have to agree on the intervention and to provide the ICRC with solid security guarantees,” the official said.

When asked about the reports of Houthi fighters taking the aid, the official said that civilians in Al Duraihimi had assisted ICRC in “unloading the trucks”.

The colonel said the rebels have been holding 19 families in the centre of Al Duraihimi since August 2018. He said the roughly 59 civilians, mostly children, women and the elderly, are being used as a human shield.

Pro-Coalition Joint forces liberated 90 per cent of Al Duraihimi city, but couldn’t launch the last push to take over the whole city because the Houthi rebels fortified in the centre, refusing to surrender and taking civilians as hostages.

Updated: December 16, 2019 07:06 PM

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