Yemen's Hadi warns of new civil war as Houthis celebrate takeover of capital
After the Houthi rebel takeover of the capital Sana’a and a Sunday night ceasefire, the group’s supporters celebrated their perceived victory as a car bomb blast rocked the capital on Tuesday evening.
Thousands of supporters of the group, which claimed victory after signing a ceasefire promising sweeping political reforms, gathered in central Sana’a to watch a speech by Houthi leader Abdel Malek al-Houthi.
The skies of Sana’a had been lit up on Monday night by a huge display of fireworks to mark the Houthi takeover of the capital.
Abdel Malek al-Houthi’s speech on Tuesday afternoon was watched by huge crowds of supporters, who gathered around trucks mounted with television screens.
In his triumphant speech, al-Houthi thanked Yemen’s army for joining the country’s “revolution”, saying that he has “extended his hand” to all political stakeholders in the country after the ceasefire.
He said that “co-operation from all parties” is necessary to build “a country based on justice.”
Al-Houthi told the assembled crowds that he is attempting to formulate a government of national participation, claiming that his movement had toppled the former “government of corruption.”
President Mansour Hadi, for his part, gave a speech decrying the Houthi encampment, calling their recent takeover of the capital a “conspiracy.”
After a meeting at the presidential palace to discuss the leadership’s next steps following a ceasefire agreement that promised the formulation of a new interim government within three days and a significant cut to fuel prices, Hadi slammed the Houthis.
He addressed the nation, saying Yemenis must be “shocked” by the capitulation of several key government ministries and sections of the army to the Houthi encroachment in the past week.
“Yemen is facing a conspiracy that will lead towards civil war,” he warned.
He said that “many powers”, including “the opportunistic who take advantage of any disaster” had come together, to manufacture the seizure of power by the Houthis.
As Hadi and Houthi continued their war of words, a car bomb explosion rocked the capital, causing unknown casualties in the ranks of the Houthis.
“A number of Houthis were killed and injured when a car-bomb exploded in northern Sana’a”, an eye-witness told Anadolu Agency.
The explosion is the second such incident to target Houthis in 48 hours, in the midst of widespread celebrations by their supporters and reports that the situation for civilians in Sana’a has improved, with an end to the huge power cuts that had coloured daily life in the capital for weeks.
A huge car-bomb exploded in the Houthi stronghold of Sa’ada, a governorate just north of the capital, on Monday.
At least 30 people were killed and scores injured in the blast.