Image Credit: Supplied

Al Mukalla: Yemeni journalists have publicly condemned an attack on satirical journalist, Nabil Soubye, who is an open critic of Al Houthi rule in the Yemeni capital.

A group of unknown assailants attacked Soubye on Saturday afternoon, shooting him in both legs and beating him with sticks until he fell unconscious.

Al Houthis were believed to be behind the attack as they have regularly cracked down and stifled journalists for their opposition.

Ashraf Al Raifi, a fellow journalist and friend of Soubye, said that armed gang had been monitoring him for a while.

“They did not want to kill him but wanted him to suffer,” he told Gulf News. Soubye is temporarily paralysed but doctors are optimistic that he could walk again after therapy.

Since late 2014, after Iran-backed Al Houthi militants took control of the capital by force, the Yemen Journalist Syndicate has issued many statements criticising their hostile actions.

Al Raifi says attacks on journalists have reached record numbers since the unification of Yemen in 1990.

“All most all opposition media has been shut down. Many journalists have been intimidated and fled the country or live outside the capital,” he said.

Soubye’s work is very popular on social media and is widely shared. Al Raifi says he was targeted because of his vocal criticisms and growing popularity.

Al Raifi believes the attack could be a warning message to other journalists. “They might move from threating journalists to killing them.”