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Houthis Force Sanaa-Based MPs to Pledge Allegiance

Houthis Force Sanaa-Based MPs to Pledge Allegiance

Wednesday, 13 December, 2017 - 11:30
Supporters of Yemen's former President Ali Abdullah Saleh stand under a huge poster of Saleh as they rally in his support in Sanaa, Yemen November 7, 2014. REUTERS/Khaled Abdullah

Leaders in the General People's Congress (GPC) reported on Tuesday to having successfully escaped Sanaa after being driven out by threats posed by Houthi militiamen.

Another group of parliamentarians held captive in the militia-held capital were forced to hold an extraordinary session and pledge allegiance to Houthi leader Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi.

According to GPC sources GPC Parliament Deputy Speaker Akram Atiya managed to escape from Houthi grip in Sanaa, and arrived in Aden to join the party’s offshoot loyal to the internationally-backed government.

Atiya belongs to the city of Zabid in the coastal province of Hodeidah and is a representing member of parliament. He is one of many prominent party leaders who were close to the recently killed Ali Abdullah Saleh, as he campaigned as a conservative in Hodeidah years ago.

Other tribal and party sources also reported that GPC leader Sheikh Qasim al-Kassadi, also succeeded in escaping the militias' grip. He arrived in his hometown in al-Zaher district in Al Bayda' province, washing his hands clean from Houthis’ doing and joined a popular and tribal resistance.

A few days before recent clashes emerged in Sanaa between Houthi militias and loyalists to former president Saleh, pro-Saleh party decided to nominate Kassadi as deputy to the president of coup-placed council Saleh al-Samad, replacing his predecessor Qassim Lubaza, who was suffering from party marginalization.

Observers predict that other leaders of Saleh's party, deputies in parliament and officials in the coup government are still waiting to escape Houthis, either because they fear the group's brutal oppression or because they refuse to continue with their coup alliance after militias killed hundreds of party members and leaders.

In the meantime, Houthi militias forced members of the House of Representatives in their areas of control to hold a meeting, despite it lacking quorum.

Parliamentary sources revealed to Asharq Al-Awsat that the session was devoted to discussing the fate of those who deviate from the insurgency’s line.

Other GPC deputies also confirmed that they had been subjected Houthi violence.

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