Nephew of killed Yemeni president calls on Saudi-led coalition to stop war

DUBAI (Reuters) - A nephew of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh has called for an end to the Yemen war, in his first public appearance since his uncle was killed by his former Houthi allies last month.

Brigadier-General Tareq Mohammed Saleh, who led a brigade of an elite Yemeni army unit before his uncle was forced to step down in 2012, had been expected to help lead Saleh’s supporters in a fresh fight against the Iran-aligned Houthis, who control most of northern Yemen, including the capital Sanaa.

Addressing supporters in the southern Shabwa province where he had traveled to offer condolences to the family of Aref al-Zouka, who was killed along with Saleh in the attack on Saleh’s residence in Sanaa, Tareq said he remained committed to his uncle’s quest for peace in Yemen.

“We are with what the leader had willed, especially his demand to stop the war, lifting the siege from our people,” said Tareq, who survived the attack by Houthi forces.

“We also extend our hands to our brothers, particularly the kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to work to end the war and to restore stability and security to Yemen,” he added.

Initial reports said Tareq was killed in the fighting that erupted after Saleh called on the Saudi-led coalition to end the war, a move interpreted by the Houthis as a betrayal.

But it later emerged that he had survived and had made his way to a safe location.

Zouka was the secretary-general of Saleh’s General People’s Congress party.

The Saudi-led coalition intervened in the Yemen war in March 2015 to try to restore President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to power after the Houthis, backed by Saleh’s supporters, forced him into exile.

The Yemen war has killed more than 10,000 people and ruined the economy and pushed the country to the verge of famine.

Writing by Sami Aboudi Editing by Jeremy Gaunt