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Yemeni president under house arrest - govt

30 January 2015, 08:08

Sana'a - The Yemeni government on Thursday accused Houthi rebels of keeping President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi and Prime Minister Khaled Bahah under house arrest.

In a statement posted on Prime Minister Khaled Bahah's official Facebook page, the government also said it would not withdraw its resignation, tendered last week after the Houthis seized the presidential palace and surrounded the premier's home.

The move is likely to increase political pressure on the mainly Shi'ite rebels, who analysts say were likely wrong-footed by the surprise resignations last week of President And Rabu Mansour Hadi and the government.

Houthi leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi on Tuesday condemned the resignations and called for a swift "transfer of power."

"[The government] will not retract the resignation which reflected its deep dismay at a coup of Ansar Allah," the government's statement - the first published on Bahah's Facebook page since he stepped down - read.

Powerful faction

Bahah said the Houthis, officially known as Ansar Allah or "the Partisans of God," were "holding President Hadi, the prime minister and a number of ministers under house arrest, something that has never happened [before] in the history of Yemen."

In his statement, Bahah charged Ansar Allah with "total responsibility for paralysing the country and its political transition".

The Houthis overran the Yemeni capital Sana'a in September, becoming the most powerful faction in Yemen, one of the poorest countries in the Arab world.

Recent days have seen the movement's fighters break up a number of protests in the capital by activists objecting to what they describe as rule by armed militias.

In the formerly independent south, officials loyal to Hadi have said they will no longer take orders from Sana'a.

Yemen is also faced with a secessionist movement in the south and an insurgency by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula - the group which claimed responsibility for the 7 January attack in Paris on the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.



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