Sanaa, Asharq Al-Awsat- Sheikh Hassan Manna, the governor of Sa’dah Province in Yemen where a war is raging between the Yemeni government forces and the Huthist militias, has accused the former rulers of Yemen (The Mutawakillite Kingdom of Yemen) [1918 – 1962] from the Al Hamid al-Din Dynasty who ruled Yemen prior to the revolution in 1962 in northern Yemen of being involved in backing the Huthist insurrection in northern Yemen.
In a statement to Asharq Al-Awsat, Sheikh Manna said that the members of the commission that was formed by the president of the republic to restore peace in Sa’dah are suffering from what he described as “hopelessness and frustration” from dealing with the “members of the insurrection and their leader or their actual leadership”.
Sheikh Manna’s remark was a reference to the presence of external hands backing the Huthists. Sheikh Manna added to the remark by saying that Abdul-Malik al-Huthi, the field commander of the Huthists in Sa’da, is a mere “designated token”. He said that a number of figures and leaders of the AlHamid-al-Din family and several well known royalist leaders are backing him. Sheikh Manna added: “Abdul-Malik al-Huthi is a simpleton. If you ask him where Bani Muaz is located, he would not know and he would not know where Al-Talh village is located. These are facts; I am not being sarcastic. I am saying that Abdul-Malik al-Huthi is exploiting the fact that he is Hussein Badr al-Din al-Huthi’s younger brother and Badr-al-Din al-Huthi’s son. He has been exploiting this name, but those that are really running things are a few royalist figures from the monarchial times against whom the Yemeni people revolted in 1962”. On the reported clashes that took place the evening before last in the city of Sa’dah between the government forces and the Huthists, Manna said: “I cannot call them clashes; they were no more than a hot chase of criminals and gangsters. The security forces hunt down criminals all the time”. He said that some that he described as “diehards” were deployed in “some houses and other places. The necessary security measures that are taken in any country in the world are being taken against them. You know that if any wanted criminals resist against the security forces they are hunted down and the necessary security measures are taken against them. This is exactly what is happening in some neighborhoods in the city today. The media has turned these incidents into an alleged seizure of Bab al-Salam [neighborhood]. By God, things like that make me want to laugh”.
Sheikh Manna said that the city of Sa’dah, the provincial center, is “calm and stable”. He said that “in some neighborhoods, the security forces are chasing some wanted insurgents for assaulting some citizens. We received complaints and we tried to summon them in the usual ways but they resisted against the security soldiers. This forced us to call for security reinforcements and to take the necessary measures. The situation is back to normal at present”. In his remarks to Asharq Al-Awsat, Manna denied that the army and security forces suffered losses during the Sa’dah clashes that some observers described as gang warfare. He said that three insurgents were killed the clashes. He added that the Yemeni security forces were in hot pursuit of wanted insurgents that were involved in killing or wounding a number of soldiers last week inside the city. He added that rebels anywhere cut off roads and resort to abductions. However, he said, the army and security forces “take the necessary legal measures and teach them a lesson”. Emphasizing that a large of Huthists were killed, he said: Anyone that resists will be killed; a large number of them were killed for resisting against the authorities”. He added that the army and security forces arrested about 20 Huthists in the city of Sa’dah in these clashes.
The governor of Sa’dah emphasized that the situation in the province is “normal”. He said that the security organs and army forces are striking at the advocates of division wherever they may be and dealing with them in the right manner. He stressed that the Huthists are no more than “corrupt gangs”. He added: “You know, brother, that corruption is easy if the means and the opportunity are available”. He said that all Yemeni society is armed and “the insurgents or this sample of citizens are armed”. He added that these have no faith, no conscience, and no patriotism. That is why they carried out acts of sabotage and besieged several tribes and many citizens. With God’s grace, however, we are dealing with them and repulsing them in every den or every point of these bad habits”. Commenting on accusations that official Yemeni quarters have made against the Islamic Republic of Iran that it is involved in backing the Huthist insurgents, the governor of Sa’dah told Asharq al-Awsat that this is up to the political leadership. At the same time, however, he asserted that “behind these destructive saboteurs and gangs” there is what he described as “a regional dimension” He said: “What is happening in Sa’dah is a reflection of the regional state of affairs in the area”. He added: “The resources and motives of these insurgents and sabotage gangs reflect a regional dimension; I am not accusing a particular state”.
Sheikh Manna described the Huthist claims that Saudi Arabia is supporting Yemen in its war against them as “nonsense”. He told Asharq Al-Awsat: “We wish there was Saudi support but it does not exist”. He added that the few pictures that the Qatari Al-Jazeera satellite channel showed – of some weapons bearing the Saudi flag – is regrettable. He added: “It is well known that these weapons are ancient; they date back to the days of the royalists to whom the insurgent gangs belong; that is, they are 43 years old. I wish you would highlight this point in your report”. He also said: “These arms are quite familiar; the bombs and rockets belong to old canons that the royalists used against the republicans during the days of the revolution in1962. The royalists used these kinds of weapons. When the Yemeni revolution broke out in September 1962, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia then was opposed to the revolution. That was a different situation; Saudi Arabia supported the royalists then. The Huthists are still keeping these weapons in their warehouses and showed samples of them to the Al-Jazeera channel claiming that Saudi Arabia is supporting Yemen. Of course, these are old weapons that appeared only in the 1960s”.
The governor of Sa’dah Province asserted that the state is in control of “all the areas of the province with the exception of some villages in the lands of Khawlan Bani Amir”. Governor Manna did not confirm or deny that the Huthists have captured several army regulars. However, he pointed out that any armed gang anywhere in the work can abduct a soldier or an officer returning home on leave. “Such things happen in New York and Geneva,” he said, “It should not be taken as a standard. Things should not take a media angle as we see on television if they capture a soldier. Sabotage, gangs, and highwaymen may exist anywhere. You know, brother that some figures or their children are abducted by corrupt gangsters anywhere in the world. What does this mean? Does it mean that the state or that place is corrupt? The Yemeni official told Asharq Al-Awsat about reported clashes a few days ago between Huthists and Salafis in the area of Dammaj in Sa’dah Province. He said that the Huthists attacked the Dammaj area where is located a group of students studying the Sunnah or modern religious studies in the (late) Sheikh Muqbil al-Wadi’i Center. This center can accommodate a large number of students from all over the world Governor Manna said that the sons of this region are “brave men. They clashed with those and inflicted heavy losses on them”.