SAN’A, Yemen (AP) – Yemen’s president has promised to crush the Shiite rebels he is fighting in the north to keep them from turning the country into another Somalia.
Ali Abdullah Saleh gave a televised speech Saturday on the 47th anniversary of the country’s national day and called the rebels “thickheaded.”
Saleh also accused them of sabotage and looting public property.
“Do you want our home to be another Somalia?” he asked.
The rebellion started in 2004 when Shiite fighters took up arms against the central government complaining of neglect, and widening influence of hard-line Sunni fundamentalists, some of whom consider Shiites as heretics. Tens of thousands have been displaced in the last month as fighting has flared up anew.