Houthis force dozens of families from southern Hodeidah

Militia fighters stormed the villages of Al Shoubailyia and Al Maj’ar and forced residents to leave

epa07322540 Yemeni pro-government soldiers on a vehicle patrol a highway during a fragile ceasefire in the port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, 26 January 2019. According to reports, the United Nations is set to replace the chief of a UN monitoring mission General Patrick Cammaert with Danish Major General Michael Anker Lollesgaard to oversee boosting the monitoring mission to up to 75 observers in the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah.  EPA/NAJEEB ALMAHBOOBI
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Dozens of families were forcibly displaced by Houthi militia from the villages of Al Shoubailyia and Al Maj'ar in southern Hodeidah on Monday, a displaced resident told The National.

Mohammed Dabwan from Zabid said that “Houthi fighters stormed the two villages and started making trenches near the residences of the civilians. They also planted nets of mines in the area around the two villages.”

“They started firing mortars which caused fear among the women and children, so most of the residents evacuated their residences and moved to Al Khokhah and Moka and to other neighbouring provinces seeking safe shelters,” Mr Dabwan said.

Mr Dabwan said that the Houthi militia stormed the two villages to secure a supply route from Ibb province across to Zabid, then to the areas of Al Magres and Al Gabaliya, where they still have control over many sites.

“The Houthi fighters advanced from Zabid unexpectedly and set up new sites in our village in Al Shoubailyia. They told us that they came to fight the ‘mercenaries’ of Al Amalikah and the Resistance of Tehama because their troops have been advancing to take control over Zabid. But they advanced and took over our village to secure a line for their fighters,” said the displaced resident, choosing to remain anonymous.

"They kept firing mortars from near our residences although the resistance troops were still far from our area. They were doing that deliberately to make people leave the village so they could take it over," Thu Yazan Zulail, another resident said.

Mr Zulail said the Houthis bombed the only primary school in the village of Al Maj’ar on Sunday because the school principal refused to allow them to use it as a base for their fighters.

“He urged them not to close the only school in the area for the sake of the hundreds of children who study in it, but they told him to move the students to another place because they needed the school. When he refused, they stormed the school at night and blew it up,” Mr Zulail said.

Earlier last week, the Houthis aggressively invaded the historical library in Zabid which contains many old manuscripts.

"They stormed the ancient library and turned it into a military site. They also looted very ancient books and manuscripts, as well as other artefacts," Colonel Mamoon Al Mahjami, the spokesperson of Al Amalikah forces said.

Separately, the Arab Coalition said in a statement issued on Monday that the Houthi militia refused to receive vessels carrying food supplies and oil derivatives in Al Saleef harbour in Hodeidah, Al Arabiya news channel reported.

According to Al Arabiya, the coalition said in the statement that six ships have been waiting to enter the harbour for 37 days.