Yemeni Houthis strike truce with pro-Salafi tribes


A spokesman for Yemen’s Shia Houthi fighters says they have reached a ceasefire deal with a number of pro-Salafi Hashid tribes in the northern province of Amran.

Abdel Karim al-Khaywani, the spokesman for the Ansarallah (Partisans of God) movement, said the truce was reached on Tuesday.

The agreement ends weeks of on-and-off fighting, which began in early January. At least 150 people were killed only last week.

However, the agreement does not include the Al-Ahmar tribe, the leading clan of the Hashid confederation.

On February 2, the Houthi fighters captured the town of Houth and the village of Khamri, which are strongholds of the Al-Ahmar clan, and forced pro-Salafi militants to flee to Sana’a.

Khaywani said that the local tribes have now sided with the Houthis.

A tribal source confirmed the deal and said “Al-Ahmar dignitaries have evacuated their strongholds in Amran.”

He also described the deal as “a revolt by the Hashid against Al-Ahmar and their 50-year-long injustice”.

Yemen’s Houthi movement draws its name from the tribe of its founding leader Hussein Badreddin al-Houthi.

The conflict between the government of ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh and Houthi fighters in northern Yemen began in 2004 and ended when a truce was reached in 2010.

In November 2009, Saudi forces also started fighting against the Houthis and bombing their positions after accusing the fighters of killing Saudi border guards.

The Houthis, who control parts of the north and are engaged in reconciliation talks with Sana’a, accuse the government of violating their civil rights and marginalizing them politically, economically, and religiously.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for 33 years, stepped down in February 2012 under a US-backed power transfer deal in return for immunity, after a year of mass street demonstrations demanding his ouster.

His vice president, Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, replaced him on February 25, 2012 following a single-candidate presidential election backed by the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The Houthi movement played a key role in the popular revolution that forced Saleh to step down.

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