Sporadic clashes have been reported in the western Yemen port city of al-Hudaydah soon after a UN-brokered ceasefire takes force in the province of the same name.
The violence broke out in the city’s eastern areas in early Tuesday minutes after the truce took effect at midnight, an official allied with Yemen’s Saudi-backed former government told AFP.
International medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) voiced alarm about “the continuous fighting” in the devastated city. It said its teams were treating victims of gunshots, shelling, and airstrikes, urging the concerned parties “to respect the presence of civilians and health infrastructures.”
The truce was agreed in Sweden on Thursday between the former government’s officials and Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement, which has been defending the country against Saudi-led air raids aimed at restoring the former government.
Also on Sunday, as many as 22 Houthi fighters were killed and a fire erupted in one of the factories in eastern Hudaydah due to airstrikes, although the two sides had agreed the truce.
Much is banked on the deal, brokered three years into the Saudi-led war. The invasion has claimed thousands of lives in Yemen and pushed the country close to the brink of outright famine.
United Nation chief Antonio Guterres warned on Sunday that “much worse” could happen to the impoverished country in 2019 unless a comprehensive “peace deal” came about and the humanitarian crisis was tackled.
The two sides have agreed to meet again in late January for more talks to define the framework for negotiations on the “peace settlement.”
Diplomats said Guterres may propose a surveillance mechanism comprising 30 to 40 observers.