Yemen Shiite rebels deny killing 6 pro-gov't tribesmen in north

08:54, July 22, 2010      

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Yemeni Shiite rebels on Wednesday denied the government's accusation of killing six pro-government tribesmen in an ambush in northern Saada province.

Earlier in the day, the official Saba news agency cited a statement by the Higher Security Committee that overseeing the post-war truce as saying that Shiite rebels in the north killed six pro-government tribesmen in an ambush designed to breach the truce deal with the government.

"Houthi rebel elements (Shiite rebels) committed a heinous crime by setting up a cowardly and treacherous ambush that left pro-government tribal leader Sheikh Zaidan al-Maknaiee, his son and four of his bodyguards dead on Tuesday in Manabah district of northern Saada province," said the committee's statement, cited by Saba.

"High Security Commission condemned this terrorist act and held Houthi rebel elements responsible for this crime and its consequences," the statement added.

However, Shiite rebels immediately denied the accusation in a statement that "there was no ambush, but confrontations between our group and a tribe loyal to the government which left several people dead and injured among both side."

The rebel's spokesman Mohammed Abdulsalam said in the statement that "three fighters of our group were killed and another was wounded in the confrontations."

He added that the accusation of the Higher Security Committee " departed from the facts as what happened were confrontations, not an ambush."

On Tuesday, a provincial police official told Xinhua that at least 18 pro-government tribesmen and eight northern Shiite rebels were killed in continuous clashes during the past three days in Harf Sufian district in Amran province, some 60 km north of the capital Sanaa.

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 yielded the Yemeni republic.

On Feb. 11, the government and Shiite rebels struck a truce deal to end a six-year conflict. Both sides, however, repeatedly trade accusations of breaching the truce which still holds so far.

Source: Xinhua


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