At least three killed as heavily armed Houthi fighters advance across city in bid to hold on to strip of presidential and parliamentary seats
Yemen’s Marib city battens down as Houthis advance through energy-rich province
Armed Houthi fighters have advanced across a wide swathe of oil-rich Marib province into a strategic city, amid intense fighting with southern rebels in which at least three people were killed and 15 wounded, medics and officials said.
Ahmed al-Shayef, a member of the southern rebel group known as the Aden National Resistance, said Marib’s residents fled the city and militia forces joined the fighting. He gave no specifics about how the two sides were fighting, but it was not immediately clear if any rebels had been killed.
Yemen’s information minister, Rajeh Badi, said early on Sunday that the advancing Houthis were moving to “stop the flow of oil” from Marib into Saudi Arabia. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.
Marib, in central Yemen, is an energy-rich province where the southern rebels have been working to free themselves from the grip of the Shiite Houthi rebels, who have been advancing into various parts of central and southern Yemen. Marib is also home to a military base where residents say Saudi-led air raids have carried out some of their attacks.
The Houthis are seeking to hold on to the vast strip of territory including Marib they hold to assert dominance over Yemen, a mostly desert nation that is the poorest Arab state. The rebels also control the capital, Sanaa, and much of the north.
Also on Sunday, 11 rebels were killed in clashes with southern Shiite fighters, local official Mohammed al-Mansouri said. He said the southern rebels have been attacking Houthi forces in Aden. In the latest clashes, the Shiite fighters killed 11 rebels in the southern port city of Aden, he said.
Ahead of the fighting, explosions were heard in Marib. On Saturday night, clashes erupted between Houthis and southern rebel fighters, the latest violence between the parties. The southern rebels also are aiming to recover their former stronghold in Aden.
Also on Sunday, gunmen in two cars opened fire on a bus carrying Yemeni Red Crescent workers, killing three and wounding six. The head of the Red Crescent said the bus was on its way to an ammunition dump in the southern city of Aden. The government hospital where the wounded were taken said two women were among the wounded.
“We call on the Yemeni armed forces and the Popular Committees to intervene and stop the violations,” said George Yassin, head of the Red Crescent in Marib province.