Oman grants refuge to Saleh's family from Yemen

Oman grants refuge to family of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh
2 min read
23 December, 2017
Oman has welcomed 22 family members of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh this week, after the brutal murder of the former strongman by Houthi rebels earlier this month.
Oman Foreign Minister Yussuf bin Alawi has worked to end Yemen's war [AFP]
Relatives of former Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh have been granted refuge in neighbouring Oman, following a crackdown on family and supporters of the former strongmen by Houthi rebels.

Oman News Agency
reported that 22 members of Saleh's family entered Oman on Thursday evening, where they joined other family who have been living in the sultanate since the start of the war in Yemen.

"In continuation of Oman's humanitarian efforts to deal with events in Yemen - and after coordination with competent authorities in Sanaa - 22 people from the family of the late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh arrived in the sultanate [Thursday] evening," the state-run news agency reported on Friday.

Most of the family members were women and children who entered Oman through Yemen's al-Mahra province, Anadolu news agency reported.

The Saudi-led military coalition - which is at war with the Houthis - later claimed it helped facilitate the transfer of the family members to the sultanate.

Houthi fighters killed Saleh on 4 December with his corpse displayed in a grusome video as proof of his death.

It followed days of clashes between the Zaydi-Shia rebels and the former president's supporters in the capital.

The two groups ruled over the capital Sanaa and other parts of northern Yemen in an uneasy partnership after the UN-recognised government of President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi fled south in September 2014.

Rumours persisted last month that the former president had reached out to Riyadh for support.

Saudi Arabia and the UAE entered the war in March 2015 looking to reinstall Hadi to power in Sanaa, with a brutal air campaign that has led to thousands of civilian deaths.

Oman has remained neutral in the conflict but has been accused of facilitating the flow of Iranian arms to the Houthi rebels.

Riyadh was blamed for bombing the home of Omani envoy to Sanaa in 2015, leading Muscat to summon the Saudi ambassador for questions on the incident.

Oman has played a key role in trying to restore peace to Yemen, hosting Yemeni officials and UN, US envoys for meetings on ending the war.

Muscat has also provided aid to Yemen and treated some of the war wounded in the sultanate, while it has worked with Houthi authorities to transfer other civilians to Oman. 

Fears of infiltration by al-Qaeda militants have led Muscat to tighten its border with Yemen.

Oman has occassionally granted refuge to Yemeni officials including former South Yemen President Ali Salem al-Beidh, who went into exile following the 1994 Yemen civil war.