Local sources in Taiz revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that rebel militias have made attempts and taken steps to deceive national, regional and international public opinion by circulating a succession of news stories about the release of those they claim to be “prisoners”. These “prisoners” are in fact innocent Yemeni citizens who are loyal to legitimacy in their country but have not engaged in fighting or political activity.
The latest twisted news that media loyal to the rebel militias reported yesterday was that 60 detainees held in their jails in the province of Taiz had been released.
The militias alleged that this move came in response to the directives of the leader of the rebel group Abdul-Malik Badreddin Al-Houthi, and added that the release of these prisoners was a goodwill gesture that marks the beginning of a process to release all prisoners and detainees due to the fact that this is a very important humanitarian issue.
However, local sources and Yemeni activists Yemenis told Asharq Al-Awsat that the newly released prisoners were actually citizens who were arrested in their homes, on roads and at checkpoints, and they do not have anything to do with the forces supporting legitimacy or the fighting. The sources added that many citizens are still languishing in militia controlled prisons in various areas under their control.
Furthermore, the Yemeni Prime Minister Dr Ahmed Obeid bin Daghr said that Taiz “has set the finest example of defending the republic’s honour, dignity and the freedom of Yemeni people through its legendary steadfastness for more than a year whilst confronting rebel militias that control the state’s resources”.
During a meeting at the Al-Maashiq Palace in Aden with the chief of the military council in Taiz Brigadier General Sadiq Sarhan, bin Daghr confirmed that the government attaches special importance to Taiz and will not abandon it.
The official Yemeni news agency Saba quoted the prime minister as saying that he appreciates the men fighting for legitimacy in Taiz, the sacrifices they have made and their bravery. Bin Daghr also expressed the readiness of the Yemeni government to support the legitimate forces in Taiz according to the resources available to the government.
On his part, Brigadier Sarhan emphasised that the legitimate forces will hold their ground until the province is liberated and the rebels are expelled from it. He also said that Taiz will be freed soon.