الثلاثاء , يونيو 16 2020

Yemen’s former leader flees capital

Yemen's former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi, pictured in 2012Mr Hadi still has supporters in the south, who have refused to recognise the new Houthi administration

Yemen’s former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has fled the capital, Sanaa, weeks after he was put under house arrest by Houthi rebels who forced him to resign.

Mr Hadi is thought to have reached the main southern city of Aden.

It comes a day after rival parties agreed on the formation of a transitional council to govern the country.

Yemen has been in crisis since the takeover by the Houthis, a Shia group.

UN mediator Jamal Benomar announced the preliminary accord between feuding factions on Thursday and hailed it as “an important step”.

Power base

Mr Hadi’s supporters in Aden have so far refused to recognise what they denounce as a political coup.

Map showing Houthi areas of influence

Last week, the governors of the provinces of Aden, Lahij and Mahra demanded the reinstatement of Mr Hadi and reaffirmed their support for Yemen becoming a federation of six regions.

Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September, before capturing the presidential palace and placing Mr Hadi under house arrest. He then quit his presidential post, saying he could not continue under such pressure.

The Houthis dissolved parliament and installed a five-member “presidential council” on 6 February.

This sparked security concerns that saw several Arab and Western states close their embassies and remove diplomats.

Since overrunning Sanaa, the Houthis have expanded their control to coastal areas and regions south of the capital.

Their takeover was denounced as a coup by rival political factions and prompted mass protests, mainly from the country’s Sunni majority.

The Houthis have also faced fierce resistance from Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda militants.

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