SANAA (AFP) – Gunmen sprayed the convoy of a Yemeni ruling party MP with automatic fire as it drove through a northwestern rebel stronghold Friday, killing him, his son and three bodyguards, witnesses said.
Saleh al-Hindi, a member of the ruling General People’s Congress, was killed instantly in the ambush in Al-Khaimah, in the northwestern region of Saada where Shiite Zaidi rebels have clashed with government forces.
Hindi’s car was travelling in a convoy including supporters when it came under fire, a tribal source said, adding that 10 other people were wounded, four seriously.
Mountainous Saada province has been the scene of a rebellion by members of the Zaidi community, a Shiite offshoot, that has killed thousands of people since 2004.
The slain lawmaker had been a member of the opposition southern-based Yemen Socialist Party (YSP) before shifting to President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s party around eight years ago.
The on-off Zaidi insurgency has been waged by rebels known as “Huthis” after their late commander, Hussein Badr Eddin al-Huthi, who was killed by the army in September 2004.
Their aim is to restore the Zaidi imamate, which was overthrown in a 1962 republican coup in Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries.
The rebels reject Saleh’s regime as illegitimate, although the president is himself a Zaidi.
An offshoot of Shiite Islam, the Zaidis are a minority in mainly Sunni Yemen but form the majority in the northwest.