AL-MUKALLA: The internationally recognized government of Yemen has intensified diplomatic efforts and military operations on the ground to put an end to the Houthi siege of the district of Abedia, in the central province of Marib, where thousands of civilians are at risk of starvation.
Foreign Minister Ahmad Awad bin Mubarak on Tuesday called UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to alert him about the grave situation in Marib and to urge him to pressure the Houthis to end their siege of Abedia. “On a telephone conversation, I briefed UNSG @antonioguterres on the catastrophic situation in Abedia district which has been under #Houthi siege for more than three weeks now, called UN to condemn this war crime, urgently provide essential needs and evacuate the injured,” the Yemeni minister said on Twitter.
On the behalf of the Yemeni government, the country’s Permanent Representative to the UN Abdullah Al-Saadi on Tuesday sent a letter to the UN, highlighting the Houthi crimes against thousands of civilians trapped in Abedia and accusing the rebels of depriving more than 35, 000 civilians of food, drinking water, medicine and other vital necessities. Al-Saadi warned that thousands of civilians face death and starvation as the Houthis intensify their missile and drone strikes on civilian gatherings and targets and block the distribution of life-saving humanitarian assistance to the besieged people.
The Houthis, who had previously failed to roll into the district due to fierce resistance from local fighters and army troops, have held the district of Abedia under siege for more than 22 days.
Meanwhile, heavy fighting broke outside the city of Marib as Yemeni government troops launched counterattacks to recapture areas fallen to the Houthis and reinforced defenses in Al-Kasara and Mashjah, west of Marib.
Gen. Abdu Abdullah Majili, Yemen’s army spokesman, told Arab News on Wednesday that government forces foiled Houthi attacks on Juba and Abedia as the coalition’s warplanes targeted the militia’s gatherings and locations outside Abedia in a bid to break the siege.
“The coalition’s warplanes carried out intensive airstrikes on the Houthis,” Majili said.
Local media reports said on Wednesday that the Houthis heavily shelled the besieged Abedia district with missiles, mortar fire and explosive-rigged drones after failing to break the loyalists’ defenses.
An unidentified number of civilians were killed and wounded on Wednesday when a missile fired by the Houthis exploded near a petrol station in government-controlled areas in the district of Juba, local media and officials said.