Yemen’s former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi has escaped weeks of house arrest by the Houthi militia at his official residence on Saturday and fled to his home town of Aden, according to several reports. Hadi’s official status since leaving the presidency last month due to his protest of the Houthis overrunning the presidential palace and his private residence remains unclear due to the fact that his resignation was never actually accepted by the government. The Houthis, who said they were taken unaware by his flight from the capital, have now called an urgent meeting of the cabinet in Sanaa’s presidential palace, a government official said.
Ali al-Qahoum, who is currently an active member of the Houthis, has said that it no longer mattered if the Hadi stayed or left, because of the fact that the Houthis has entered an agreement with rival factions that was overseen by the United Nations. Hadi, who took office as president a little over three years ago, was assisted by the UN to make the journey back home, according to al-Qahoum, which has been substantiated by other reports.
Meanwhile, Houthi militiamen led by Abdel-Malek al-Houthi opened fire on protesters in the central city of Ibb, killing one person and wounding another earlier today. The crowd had gathered in a square to demonstrate against the Houthis’ role in overturning the government last month. Another protest took place after the shooting.
Hadi used a disguise in order to escape his residence, Ali al-Qahoum was quoted as saying by the local news website al-Akhbar. Hadi’s Sanaa residence was looted by Houthi militiamen after he left, according to witnesses; however, this was denied by al-Qahoum. The former president arrived at his home in the Aden district of Khormaksar, according to witnesses who spoke to outlets such as Reuters.
In what may be related to Hadi’s escape, Houthi militiamen opened fire on protesters in the central city of Ibb, which resulted in the death of one person and the wounding of another early on Saturday, according to more witnesses who spoke to Reuters. The crowd had gathered in a square to demonstrate against the Houthis’ role in overturning the government last month. Afterwards, thousands of people took to the streets to protest the shootings. Reports suggest that more troops have been deployed as a result of said protests.
Earlier in the week, a drone destroyed a car carrying suspected members of AQAP in Shawbwa Province, a bastion of the militant group in the rugged mountains of southern Yemen, which resulted in the deaths of at least three people, according to eyewitnesses. The United States has acknowledged it carries out drone strikes against militant targets in Yemen, but has said that it does not comment on specific attacks, so it is unclear as to whether or not the U.S. was in charge of this drone strike. The strikes, which have sometimes killed civilians, have angered many people in the country.
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