SANAA Feb 4 Shi'ite Muslim rebels and Sunni
tribesmen agreed a local ceasefire in northern Yemen on Tuesday
after clashes between the rivals killed about 60 people there
last week, tribal sources said.
Tribal sources told Reuters on Tuesday the truce, mediated
by the mayor of the capital Sanaa, stipulated that fighters from
both sides withdraw from the area and let the army deploy.
The fighting is just one challenge facing U.S.-allied Yemen,
where authorities are struggling to shore up control in the face
of internal conflicts, poor governance and poverty.
The stability of Yemen, which neighbours top oil exporter
Saudi Arabia, is of major concern to the West which is worried
about the repercussions of a complete breakdown in security in
Yemen, home to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
On Sunday Shi'ite Houthi fighters and their allies from the
Hashed tribal federation seized control of al-Khamri, a region
in Omran province associated with the powerful al-Ahmar clan, an
ally of Salafis, adherents of an austere brand of Sunni Islam.
The latest fighting was the worst since clashes began in
October when Houthi rebels, who hold much of northern Saada
province on the Saudi border, moved against Salafi forces in
Saada's Dammaj town. The Houthis accused the Salafis of
recruiting foreign fighters to attack them.
Underscoring the growing instability in Yemen, a bomb
targeting a bus carrying Yemeni soldiers in the capital Sanaa
killed two people on Tuesday, a medical source said.
The blast was the latest in a series of security incidents
to hit the country in less than a week. Two Westerners have been
kidnapped since Friday and three explosions near the French
embassy, the defence ministry and the central bank, shook the
capital late on Sunday.
"I was far away from the bus and I suddenly saw a big
explosion near the side where the driver sits," said Ahmed, a
"Six ambulances arrived and started transporting the
soldiers, there was blood spilling everywhere," he said.
(Reporting by Mohamed Ghobari; Writing by Yara Bayoumy, Editing
by William Maclean and Tom Heneghan)