Yemen's Houthi rebels release ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh's sons: Report

The release came nearly 10 months after the rebels arrested them along with dozens of the former President's relatives following deadly clashes in the capital that killed Saleh.

Published: 04th October 2018 12:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 04th October 2018 12:53 AM   |  A+A-

Former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh (File | AP)


SANAA: Yemen's Shia Houthi rebels on Wednesday released two sons of slain former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the media reported.

"The sons of Ali Abdullah Saleh, Salaah and Madyan, were released upon an amnesty from the (so-called) President of the Supreme Political Council Mahdi al-Mashat (top Houthi official)," the Houthis rebels said in a statement cited by state news agency Saba.

The release came nearly 10 months after the rebels arrested them along with dozens of the former President's relatives following deadly clashes in the capital that killed Saleh at the hands of Houthis.

On December 4, 2017, the Houthis said they killed Saleh, their once partner, after he sought peace with Saudi Arabia, the Sunni Gulf country that led an Arab military coalition against Iranian-allied Shia Houthi rebels.

A senior Houthi militia member told Xinhua news agency that the release came following a "mediation from Oman" and that the sons of Saleh would be transported by an "Omani plane to United Arab Emirates (UAE), where they would join their exiled older brother Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh in Abu Dhabi".

Saleh's family allied with the government of Saudi-backed exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the former broke out from alliance with Houthis in late 2017. There were no comments from the government on the Houthi statement.

Last week, the Saudi-backed internationally recognized government said that the "Houthis prevented a UN plane from landing in Sanaa on September 28 to transport sons of Saleh, according to an agreement to release them signed by the Houthis".

Saleh's family members, most of whom were military commanders and ran the country's elite Republican Guards and Counter-terrorism Special Forces during his 33 years of rule, are reportedly backed by the US, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

In September 2014, the Houthis advanced from their stronghold Saada province, storming the capital and controlled it and other northern cities by force, including the Red Sea port city of Hodeidah.

The move triggered Saudi Arabia to lead an Arab military coalition and launched an Air Force campaign on Yemen in March 2015 to reinstate the government of exiled President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

The war has killed more than 10,000 Yemenis, mostly civilians, and displaced 3 million others, according to UN aid agencies.


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