Yemen: Civilians flee to Saudi Arabia by violence between al-Houthi rebels and pro-government militia
Escalating fighting between al-Houthi Shia rebels and pro-government militia in Yemen’s remote northwestern districts of Qutabir and Monabih has forced dozens of families across the border into Saudi Arabia, according to local officials.
“As a result of recurrent clashes between al-Houthi and tribesmen supporting the government, dozens of families from our district infiltrated over the past three days into the southern region of the kingdom [of Saudi Arabia] in search of safety and better living conditions,” Mohammed Hatabah, a local council member from Qutabir district, in the Saada governorate, told IRIN.
He said some of the families had only just returned home to Saada after several months in displaced persons camps, or among host communities, following last year’s heavy fighting between government forces and al-Houthi rebels.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) said in a statement on 23 November it was in the process of dispatching a team from its regional office in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, “to establish the numbers and assess needs” of those who have managed to cross the border.
Since a ceasefire was announced in mid-February 2010, sporadic fighting between al-Houthi forces and pro-government tribes has broken out across the Saada governorate and in the northern part of Amran governorate.