Yemen, (AFP) – Tribal mediators succeeded Saturday in reaching a ceasefire between Yemen’s northern Shiite rebels and an army-backed tribe after days of fighting that killed at least 70 people, a tribal chief said.
Sheikh Qassem Qubaida, who led a mediation team of tribal chiefs, told AFP that the Huthi rebels and the Bin Aziz tribe, led by MP Sheikh Sagheer Aziz, were “persuaded… to stop firing”.
He said that the fighting which had flared up again on Friday night around the village of Bin Aziz in Harf Sufyan, in northern Amran province, stopped at around 11:00 am (0800 GMT) on Saturday.
The road linking the restive Saada region with the capital Sanaa through Amran, which was blocked for about a week, was being opened “by clearing the mines planted by the Huthis,” he said.
A witness told AFP that Huthi rebels attempted to storm the house of Aziz on Friday night, adding that they bombed the house of his nephew, killing him.
This brought the weekly death toll from the fighting to at least 70 people, after 69 were killed in earlier clashes.
The toll is expected to rise further as casualties from Friday’s night gunfight were not counted.
The week’s clashes have rattled an already fragile truce agreed in February that ended a six-month round of fighting in the conflict between the rebels and the army, which started in 2004.
The Huthis and the government have repeatedly exchanged accusations of violating the February ceasefire.