Yemeni capital attacked by Houthi fighters

Yemen’s President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi was attacked by Houthi fighters in the capital, Sana, on Monday the 19th of January. The attacks took place during a meeting with the Prime Minister, Khaled Bahah, over the installation of a new constitution.

Attacks began early in the morning according to a Yemeni journalist Nadia Sakkaf, who was close to the events and kept detailed updates via twitter. Sakkaf tweeted “URGENT: Heavy shooting targets Prime Minister’s cars after meeting with president and Ansarallah at President’s residence. He is unhurt.”

Approximately fifteen hours later a shaky cease-fire was established between the Houthi rebels who by that time had taken control over a substantial part of the city. Eight people had died during the gun battles from artillery and shelling.

Houthi militiamen were believed to have seized control of the presidential palace and two powerful security agencies during the gunfire.

Nadia Sakkaf stated on Twitter that three groups are involved in the battle in Sana: “State security, #Houthis and republican guards affiliated to the former regime #Yemen.” This information corroborates with an article published by The New York Times, which said “Sunni extremists…have carried out a string of deadly bombings in Yemen, framing the attacks as retaliation against the Houthis.”

The same Sunni extremists are the ones to have claimed responsibility for the recent Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris.

As recently as 21 hours ago attacks on the Yemeni government continued, resulting in the erosion of President Hadi’s ability to effectively govern his country.

According to Nadia Sakkaf the fighting has ceased and peace negotiations are underway between the Houthis and the Yemeni government. However, she is not ready to call the conflict over just yet. A tweet from Sakkaf said “Events in #yemen are changing and developing very rapidly therefore we shall wait until the situation is clear and then call it what it is.”


Jake Cupitt