Skip to main content

Rebels, tribesmen battle for control of key Yemeni region

By Hakim Almasmari, CNN
updated 1:37 AM EST, Sat February 1, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Shiite militants are battling Sunni tribesmen in northern Yemen
  • At least 42 people died and dozens more were injured in fighting, officials say
  • Cease-fire negotiations are set to resume on Sunday

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Rebels battling for control of northern Yemen clashed against tribesmen on Friday, leaving dozens dead in fighting just miles from the country's capital, officials told CNN.

At least 42 people were killed and more than a dozen injured in clashes between Houthi Shiite militants and fighters from the Sunni Hashid tribe in the Amran province, which is seen as a linchpin to controlling the region, according to two security officials and a local tribal leader.

The reports of fighting come as cease-fire negotiations are under way to put an end to the fighting that has plagued Yemen since late last year, spurred in part by a power vacuum left by the departure of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Tensions between the rebel Houthis and the Hashid, which includes Sunni tribesmen and conservative Islamic Salafists, began to rise last October, when the Houthis blamed the Hashid for standing behind the killing of one of its members.

Earlier this month, President Abdurabu Hadi helped negotiate a short-lived truce. Cease-fire negotiations were set to resume with both sides on Sunday, according to officials.

There were countering claims by the two sides about who had gained ground in the fighting.

The Hashid tribe claimed victory over the Houthis in the Amran province towns of Khaiwan and Dannan, Fawzy al-Jaradi, a tribal spokesman said.

But the Houthis denied the claim, with the group's spokesman Mohammed AbdulSalam claiming their fighters gained territory.

Meanwhile, at least 15 Yemeni soldiers were killed and three injured Friday when masked gunmen attacked a military post in the Yemeni province of Hadramout, three senior security officials told CNN.

Further details about the attack, including who was behind it, weren't immediately available.

Yemen is home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, believed by many analysts to be the most dangerous affiliate of the terror network.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
This looks like a ghost ship, but it's actually the site of a tense international standoff between the Philippines and China.
updated 11:55 AM EDT, Sat July 26, 2014
The reported firing of artillery from Russian territory is a sign Vladimir Putin has escalated the Ukraine battle, says CNN's military analyst Rick Francona.
updated 4:46 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
The young boy stops, stares, throws ammunition casings at the reporter's feet without a word.
updated 8:37 AM EDT, Sun July 27, 2014
A picture taken on June 28, 2014 shows a member of Doctors Without Borders (MSF) putting on protective gear at the isolation ward of the Donka Hospital in Conakry, where people infected with the Ebola virus are being treated. The World Health Organization has warned that Ebola could spread beyond hard-hit Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone to neighbouring nations, but insisted that travel bans were not the answer.
The worst ebola outbreak in history spreads out of control in West Africa. CNN's Michael Holmes reports.
updated 8:48 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Sure, Fido is a brown Lab. But inside, he may also be a little green.
updated 4:06 PM EDT, Thu July 24, 2014
ITN's Dan Rivers reports from the hospital where those injured by an attack in Gaza were being treated.
updated 9:03 AM EDT, Mon July 28, 2014
Photograph of an undisclosed location by Patrycja Makowska
Patrycja Makowska likes to give enigmatic names to the extraordinarily beautiful photographs she shoots of crumbling palaces.
updated 4:04 AM EDT, Wed July 23, 2014
When the Costa Concordia and its salvage convoy finally depart Giglio, the residents will breathe a sigh of relief -- and shed a tear.
updated 2:08 PM EDT, Fri July 25, 2014
Flight attendants are wearing black ribbons to show solidarity with fallen colleagues in "a tribute to those who never made it home."
CNN joins the fight to end modern-day slavery by shining a spotlight on its horrors and highlighting success stories.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT