The Shia Houthi combatants have taken control over a district bordering Saudi Arabia, as the military confrontation between Yemeni government and the northern fighters rages on.
“People have now full control of the government compounds in the administrative district of Munabbih following raids on the buildings early on Thursday,” a statement released by Houthis said. It added people had turned against the local authorities because of constant harassment and deliberate killing of civilians.
Surrounded by fighters and regularly bombarded by military warplanes and helicopters, Saada remains cut from the rest of the country and is faced with a pressing shortage of food and other basic supplies.
The humanitarian situation in Yemen’s restive northern regions has deteriorated badly after international aid agencies failed to deliver aid to the town of Saada due to an all-out army offensive against Shia Houthi combatants.
The United Nations puts the figure of displaced people in the mountainous northwestern province of Saada and neighboring Amran regions at around 150,000 civilians.
The Yemeni government launched Operation ‘Scorched Earth’ on August 11 to uproot the Muslim Shia fighters whom Sana’a accuses of seeking a return to the Zaidi imamate, overthrown in a 1962 coup. The Shia Houthis oppose Yemen’s close ties with the United States and say they are defending their villages against government oppression.