Al Mukalla: Al Houthi militants stormed the house of an outspoken journalist loyal to Yemen’s ousted president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, in the capital on Monday, fuelling tensions between the two factions.
Yemen’s Journalist Syndicate said in a statement on Monday that armed men in civilian attire broke into the house of Kamel Al Khoudani, a journalist at Saleh’s Al Methaq newspaper, causing panic among his family. Al Khoudani, a staunch supporter of Saleh, has been known for his harsh criticism of Al Houthis and their mismanagement of the country since occupying Sana’a in September 2014.
In his last tweet, the journalist blasted Al Houthis for paying a lot of attention to religious events like Ashoura sessions while refusing to pay public servants. The Syndicate said Al Houthis smashed the house’s doors, vandalised furniture and turned the house upside down before leaving.
The Iran-backed rebels have recently arrested a number of activists and journalists, mainly from Saleh’s party, claiming they were inciting the public against their movement.
Tension between Saleh and Al Houthis resulted in clashes in Sana’a in August. Saleh provoked Al Houthis when he challenged their authority by arranging a big rally in the capital. In the following weeks, analysts said, Al Houthis informally placed him under house arrest. They purged his supporters from key security, military, and civilian positions.
Political analysts say the powerless Saleh has left his supporters in the lurch, allowing Al Houthis to go after them.
In August, international right groups criticised Al Houthis for detaining Hisham Al Omeisy, a prominent social media activist in Sana’a.
Many activists who previously backed the Al Houthi coup have criticised the rebels for failing to address skyrocketing prices of basic commodities, and for not paying public servants in the areas they control.
Meanwhile on the ground, fighting raged on several fronts. The ministry of defence said on Monday that government forces liberated several hilly locations in Al Bouqa region in Sa’ada, an Al Houthi bastion.
The clashes erupted on Monday morning when government forces mounted an offensive on Al Houthi militants in the areas, making them flee. Similar fighting was reported yesterday in the northern Jawf province where government forces stormed new areas in Al Masloub district.
Fighter jets from the Saudi-led coalition launched air strikes against Al Houthis in Jawf, the ministry of defence said.