Yemen rebels 'bury Saleh in closed funeral'

Yemen rebels 'bury Saleh in closed funeral'
2 min read
09 December, 2017
Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by his former rebel allies this week, was buried at his home village outside Sanaa on Saturday.

Hundreds were killed in five days of clashes between the former allies [File Photo: Getty]
Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was killed by his former rebel allies this week, was buried on Saturday at his home village outside Sanaa, a relative close to the family said.

A Houthi official speaking on condition of anonymity confirmed the burial, which was held under strictly controlled conditions, had taken place.

The rebels, who over the past week have consolidated control of Sanaa, allowed Saleh's son Madin and a nephew out of detention to attend the burial.

Parliament speaker Yahya Ali Aa-Rai – who belongs to the former president's embattled General People's Congress Party – and Houthi commander Ali Abu al-Hakim also attended.

No more than 20 people attended the burial, under the strict watch of the Houthis, the Saleh relative said.

The strongman ruptured three years of uneasy alliance with the Iran-backed Houthis, offering to "turn the page" with foe Saudi Arabia in return for the lifting of a crippling blockade and a ceasefire.

The move proved fatal for the former president, who was gunned down by the Houthis as their alliance unravelled just days later.

The rebels have since consolidated their control over the capital.

Shortly after the killing, the rebels began disrupting internet access nationwide, residents and an Arab digital rights organisation said on Saturday.

"My Facebook page and WhatsApp (messenger) are the most important tools in my life and I can barely access them," said Mahmoud Mohammed, an aid worker in the rebel-held port city of Hodeidah.

He said he could only access WhatsApp – a ubiquitous form of communication throughout the Arab World – through a VPN (virtual private network), and that the outage was hampering his work.

Also, over the past week, two Sanaa-based television stations have come under assault. Houthis attacked the Yemen Today station of their former allies, detaining 41 journalists and staff, and the Saudi-led coalition bombed the rebel-held national broadcaster on Saturday, killing four guards.