SHAFAQNA – Yemen’s Shiite Ansarullah militia is advancing in Taez province towards the main southern city of Aden as it seeks to expand its influence after taking the capital, officials said Friday.
Overnight, a 16-vehicle convoy of militiamen entered an eastern suburb of Taez, the country’s third city, and deployed near its airport and a local radio station, the local officials said.
Ansarullah militiamen, also called Houthis, have captured many communities in western and central Yemen since taking Sanaa on September 21.
However, they had not entered Taez, a city of around half a million people some 250 kilometers southwest of Sanaa, under an accord struck with local authorities.
“This agreement no longer stands because the local authorities have not honoured their commitment to arrest 14 extremists in Taez province,” a source close to Ansarullah told AFP.
The group’s deployment in the eponymous city’s Al-Janad suburb follows “their capture this week of Al-Qaeda,” a region of neighboring Ibb province, an official in the area said.
“Supporters of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh helped the Houthis get into Al-Janad,” he added.
The suburb houses a barracks of the Republican Guard, a unit in which several officers remained loyal to Saleh’s eldest son who commanded the elite corps.
In July, the Houthis rebel fighters swept south from their rugged northern bastion of Saada, first taking Amran province before conquering Sanaa the following month.
Source : Afp.com