Yemen's Houthi rebels continue attacks after Hodeidah peace deal announced

Residents forced to flee after rebels stormed village in south of the province on Thursday night

Rebel negotiator Mohammed Abdelsalam (C) holds a press conference together with members of the delegation following the peace consultations taking place at Johannesberg Castle in Rimbo, north of Stockholm, Sweden, on December 13, 2018.  Yemen's government and rebels have agreed to a ceasefire in flashpoint Hodeida, where the United Nations will now play a central role, the UN chief said.  / AFP / Jonathan NACKSTRAND
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Houthi rebels attacked a village in southern Hodeidah on Thursday night, hours after their representatives announced a ceasefire deal with the Yemeni government following UN-brokered negotiations in Sweden.

Dozens of families were forced to leave Al Humainya in Haiys district after the rebels stormed the village, residents said.

"Last night while we were sleeping, Houthi fighters suddenly entered our village from areas still under their control in the neighbouring mountains in western Haiys," Faiysal Durami told The National. "They took positions on the roofs of some buildings and started shooting anything that moved in the village.

"We tried to negotiate with them to take positions far from the village but they told us to leave our homes as soon as possible."

Video footage sent to The National by the pro-government Al Amalikah Brigades showed men, women and children leaving their homes with their belongings loaded on donkey carts or carried on their shoulders.

"We could only use donkey carts because the Houthis let no cars to approach our village," Mr Durami said.

"They kept shelling from the roof of a building near my house that used to be a public health centre," another resident told The National. "My children were terrified and couldn't sleep so I decided to leave the village and look for shelter in Khokha or any other place. Living outdoors in a safe place is much better than living in a house surrounded by the Houthis."


Read more:

What we know about the Hodeidah ceasefire


UN officials said on Thursday that the government and rebels had agreed to withdraw their forces from Hodeidah city and observe a ceasefire across the coastal province as part of measures to ensure the uninterrupted flow of badly needed aid from its ports to the rest of the country.

Al Amalikah spokesman Col Mamoon Al Mahjami said the rebels launched repeated attacks in southern Hodeidah as talks were being held in Sweden.

"This is the real face of the Houthi militia. Talking about a full withdrawal in Sweden is a dream - the Houthis are known for breaking their commitments," he told The National.

"The Houthis have been launching repeated offensives in the areas under the government control in southern Hodeidah. They made many attempts to cut vital supply routes in Al Faza, tried to break into Tuhaiyta, and on Thursday they stormed the residences of civilians in Haiys, causing mass displacement."

Another Al Amalikah officer, Col Wadhah Al Dubaish, said the rebels agreed to a deal because of military pressure exerted by the pro-government forces.

"We are ready to abide by this deal unless the Houthis break it. If they do, our forces are ready and our response will be harsh," he told The National.