Yemeni gov't accuses Shiite rebels of kidnapping 5 oil engineers

11:43, July 10, 2010      

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Yemen's Interior Ministry on Friday accused northern Shiite rebels of kidnapping five governmental oil engineers in the troubled northern province of al-Jouf.

"The Shiite rebels, also known as Houthis, kidnapped late Thursday five Yemeni oil engineers belonging to the Marib-based Yemeni Oil Company (YOC) when they were in a mission to inspect oil pipelines in Barat and Kharab al-Mouashi districts in al-Jouf," the ministry said in a statement, citing a police report from al-Jouf.

"The Shiite rebel group still held the five engineers," said the statement, adding the Interior Ministry is questioning the motivations behind the kidnap.

On Sunday, the Yemeni government accused the Shiite rebels in the north of failing to fulfill the ceasefire deal agreed in February.

An official overseeing the ceasefire deal called on the rebels to commit themselves to the agreed truce and to stop impeding efforts to bring peace to Saada province and the Harf Sufian district of Amran province.

Since 2004, Yemen has witnessed sporadic battles between government troops and the Shiite Houthi rebels whom the government accused of seeking to re-establish the clerical rule overthrown by the 1962 Yemeni revolution which created the Yemeni republic.

On Feb. 11, the government and Shiite rebels struck a ceasefire agreement to end the conflict in the northern part of the country. However, both sides repeatedly trade accusations over breaching truce, which so far still holds.

Source: Xinhua


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