Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has accused the Houthis of violating a ceasefire in what appears to be a prelude to another military attack on the Muslim fighters.
“The state has abstained from all military action, while knowing that the rebels are pursuing other plans, as advocates of war who do not want peace,” President Saleh was quoted by AFP as saying on Saturday.
The fighters had earlier warned that government forces stationed in the Amshia Bsfian region were creating a new stronghold in Mount Guide, in preparation of another onslaught.
Authorities have been trying to “militarize” civilian life and amass servicemen in villages, homes and farms, the Houthis said earlier in the month.
The north-based fighters have been defending Yemen’s Shia minority against what they describe as efforts by the Yemeni leadership and neighboring Saudi Arabia to socially, economically, and religiously marginalize the community.
Nearly 350,000 people have been displaced and hundreds of others have been killed since 2004 when Sana’a began its crackdown on Shias.
The Yemeni government intensified its attacks in August 2009. Saudi forces joined Yemen in its campaign in November of that year, with Riyadh claiming that the fighters had been involved in cross-border attacks against the Kingdom.
In February, the Muslim fighters offered a unilateral ceasefire with the Yemeni government in an effort to protect civilian lives. The initiative led to a truce.
The Houthis recently released 200 captured army soldiers and their leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, announced plans to release all prisoners ahead of the holy month of Ramadan as a goodwill gesture.