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Houthi, tribesmen confrontations leave two women dead; locals fear escalation to war.

SANA'A -- Houthis expanded their attacks on villages in Al-Shahil district, an area close to Sa'ada, as ferocious confrontations between Houthis and tribesmen affiliated with the Islah party in Hajja, located in north Yemen, augmented the past two days.

Zaid Arjash, the deputy governor of Hajja governorate, said the Houthis mobilized a group of militants from Al-Jawf, Amran, Sa'ada and Hajja during the past two weeks in order to double their assault on Al-Shahil district. In return, Al-Shahil locals cooperated so as to repel the Houthi attacks, resulting in casualties.

Arjash said that among the fatalities were two women and two Houthi militants, as well as two from the Al-Shahil district.

He accused the Houthis of killing the two women in Al-Shahil district. Those women's bodies were found riddled with bullets.

Arjash commented on the role of media, saying media depicts the rifts as doctrinal war between the Houthis and Islah party, indicating that the whole of society repels the Houthis, though Islah attempts to appear in the front.

The movement by the Houthi militants came on the heels of their failure to hold Kushr district months ago because of the strong resistance by tribesmen. That conflict ended in dozens of deaths on both sides, according to Arjash.

For its part, the 26 September website quoted Hajja Governor Fahd Dahshosh as saying constant efforts have been made during these past two days to curb any clashes between the Houthis and Al-Shahil tribesmen.

He told the website that mediators met with the two sides, and it was agreed that the reasons for tension would be removed so as to end the ongoing intense situation; the problem will be resolved within one week, he said.

Residents of Al-Shahil district called on President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi and the defense and interior ministers to take immediate action to thwart the fighting between the Houthis and the tribesmen.

The residents warned against the breakout of a war, fearing the rise of casualties and displaced persons. They also demanded the formation of a fact-finding committee that involves human rights activists, politicians and journalists to look into the dimensions of the issue.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Aug 27, 2012
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