Yemen's Ex-President Saleh Reported Killed In Fighting

Peter Castro
December 5, 2017

The man had suffered a large head wound.

Khattar Abou Diab, who teaches political science at the University of Paris, tells VOA that former president Saleh has a "strong political instinct" and that he made his move against the Houthis at a time when the situation on the ground is favorable.

Without mentioning Saleh by name, he said that he knew about Saleh's communication with the coalition and his efforts to turn against the Houthis.

A Houthi media official, Abdel-Rahman al-Ahnomi said Houthi fighters killed Mr Saleh as he tried to flee to Saudi Arabia though the province of Marib, to the east of the capital.

It was unclear how Saleh's death would impact that plan. Houthi fighters followed him in 20 armoured vehicles, attacked and killed him and nearly all those with him, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity. Armed militiamen unfurled a blanket containing the corpse and shouted, "praise God!" and "hey Ali Affash!", another last name for Saleh. The Associated Press also reported the death.

Al Arabiya quoted a source in Saleh's GPC party as saying he was killed by a sniper.

Yemenis in the war-torn country's capital crowded into basements overnight as Saudi-led fighter jets pounded the positions of Houthi rebels, who are now fighting forces loyal to a former president for control of the city.

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In a speech late on Sunday, apparently his last, Saleh formally annulled his alliance with the Houthis. In a televised interview, Salah also called for resuming relations with Saudi Arabia, if the Saudi-led coalition lifts its blockade of Yemeni ports and air facilities.

Saleh, 75, ruled Yemen for more than three decades until his ouster under popular pressure in 2012.

"We have notified the leader of the traitor and criminal militias to retract, be wise, to stop his militias from continuing committing crimes", he said, "Today is the day of the fall of the conspiracy of betrayal and treason". If they do not, they will meet the same fate.

His death and the fighting between his supporters and the Houthis puts the civil war on an unpredictable path.

He stated the Houthis would not harm members of the GPC who refused to fight.

The Ansar Allah movement claims to have regained control of the Yemeni capital after an attack carried out by Saleh's supporters.

He stated that the clashes were ongoing and his movement would arrest the relatives of the "traitorous" Saleh.

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