Yemen government condemns Houthi killing of tribal leader

The body of Sheikh Mujahed Kashira was dragged through a street in Amran province by rebels

epa07708686 A member of Yemeni government forces fires a heavy machine gun during fighting against Houthi rebels on the outskirt of the port city of Hodeidah, Yemen, 10 July 2019. According to reports, a Yemeni demining unit has managed to clear more than 3500 landmines and explosives allegedly planted by the Houthi rebels in the port city of Hodeidah over the past six months.  EPA/NAJEEB ALMAHBOOBI
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Yemen’s internationally recognised government condemned on Tuesday the killing of a tribal leader by Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Fighting between two tribal groups loyal to the rebels resulted in the deaths of at least 10 people in the northwestern Amran province on Sunday.

Sheikh Mujahed Kashira, a tribal leader who once fought alongside the Houthis, was killed after being accused of defecting.

A video shared online showed gunmen attacking Kashira's lifeless body as they dragged it through a street.

“The assassination of Sheikh Mujahed Kashira and the abuse of his dead body is compared to ISIS and those extreme groups,” Yemen’s human rights minister, Mohamed Askar, said.

“How can the government deal with individuals who support such brutality? In order for peace efforts to develop, perpetrators must be held accountable, and until that is achieved then violence will continue,” he continued.

Kashira joined the rebels in 2014 in capturing the capital, Sanaa, an act which triggered the country’s brutal civil war.

There are internal conflicts between the Houthis and their tribal allies, pushing the rebels to get rid of some individuals, in order attract supporters, Baraa Shiban, a Yemeni human rights activist, told The National.

“Those tribal leaders were holding some influence over their followers which prompted Houthi leaders to compete with them,” Mr Shiban said.

It is believed that the rebels have killed dozens of tribal leaders since April.

“This is horrific and very new to Yemeni culture,” Mr Shiban said.

Houthi rebels said that four of their forces were killed while trying to arrest Kashira.

Following his death, they reportedly arrested dozens of his supporters in the town of Rayda.

The clashes that followed have reportedly also wounded over 17 people, including Houthi leaders.

Since the civil war began, tens of thousands of people have been killed, according to the World Health Organisation.

The conflict has also displaced millions and left 24.1 million – more than two thirds of the population – in need of aid.