Houthis set deadline to unravel Yemen crisis

Army and police officers loyal to the Houthi movement shout slogans during a gathering in Sanaa February 1, 2015.

Army and police officers loyal to the Houthi movement shout slogans during a gathering in Sanaa February 1, 2015.

A Shiite militia on Sunday set a three-day deadline for political parties to resolve the power vacuum in Yemen since the president and prime minister offered to resign last month.

The Houthis and their allies urged parties “to reach a solution and fill the vacuum” within three days or “the revolutionary leadership” would “take care of the situation of the state.”

No measures were specified.

The deadline was set in a statement issued at the end of a three-day meeting in a Sanaa sports hall attended by the party of ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh but boycotted by Yemen’s other major political movements.

The announcement was loudly applauded by thousands who took part in the forum, including tribal chiefs and officers in military uniform.

The militia, which overran Sanaa in September, seized the presidential palace and key government buildings on January 20, plunging the country deeper into crisis and prompting President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi and his premier to tender their resignations.

Opponents have staged demonstrations against the Huthis in several cities under the slogan: “Revolt until the overthrow of the coup” forces.

U.N. envoy Jamal Benomar has said that Hadi and his cabinet are effectively under house arrest, warning that violence could erupt at any time.

The crisis has raised fears that impoverished Yemen, which lies next to oil-rich Saudi Arabia, could become a failed state.

In unrest on Sunday, gunmen on a motorbike shot dead a Houthi official, Abu Abdullah al-Ayyani, in Ibb in central Yemen, a security source said.

In neighboring Baida province, two soldiers were killed in an ambush and two assailants died in a firefight, a military source said.

And a local official said an Al-Qaeda leader named Abu Mussab died in clashes between the militant network and soldiers.


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