Statement of the legal and Media Team
Who visits the districts of Kusher and Mustaba
In Hajjah Governorate
In the period from : 10/3-13/3/2012
Sana'a, March 17, 2012
A number of journalists and legalists directed on Saturday 10/3/2013 to conflicts areas of the districts of Mustaba and Kusher and saw the humanitarian conditions and recorded all things related to the conflicts that caused human and material damages.
The team met for three days with all conflict parties including mediators and social figures and local council members in the governorate and the district, in addition they met with the people who displaced from their homes with recording and documenting to the violations and crimes that committed against the people of those areas and the results were:
First: the mediation committee
We found, during our meeting with the supervision committee on implementing the truce between the conflict parties, that the situation still tense and the fire shooting did not stop until one week before our visit and there were some violations despite the signature of the truce in 27/1/2012. The role of the state is completely absence in its duty in protecting citizens and fixation security and stability. There are no guaranties to implement this truce unless the obligation of the all conflict parties.
We met with the leader in al-Houthi group Abu Yahya al-Matari, and we get that Al-Houthis came from Sa'ada to protect the house of al-Madani and they started publish their ideas peacefully and they distributed chants and slogans in mosques, so they got objection from the people of Mustaba who they are not object their coming from outside the province, but they were objected by the people of Kusher district. Al-Matari said that they entered to Kusher as fighters, and it was a self-defense.
The team visited the house of Abu Yousef al-Madani, and found some bullets on a number of walls of the house. Al-Houthis did not speak about how much they got killed from them, while the road of Ahem- Harradh was passing through Mustaba, and it was under their control, and blocked.
Al-Houthis provided for the visitors a number of pictures of handwritten papers that they said they found them in the House of the Qur'an in Ahem, and it includes inciting on them.
Al-Houthis showed their ready to leave the area in case of implementation of all clauses of the treaty, with existing of some objections.
In the next day, on Monday 12/3/2012, we visit Ahem Souq that gathered by tens of thousands every Monday from different areas of neighboring provinces such as Sa'ada, al-Hodeidah, Hajjah and al-Mahweet, and we found the markets completely empty and closed, and people are in the case-see caution that prevails in the days of war.
As we stood there in the city of Ahem, we saw the crimes committed against the residents and owners of shops and places of worship where houses demolished and other houses was bombed by various heavy weapons and a number of shops and stores of goods were all burned, and the sanctity of ALLAH (GOD) houses and the Center for AL-Quran memorization that contained a special section to orphans care have been also violated.
During the visit, we found the tribes of Hagur saying that al-Houthis invade their tribes from many provinces and have disabled the schools and mosques, and blocked the roads, especially the asphalt main road connecting the Directorate of Mustaba with Kusher district, and it considers a life vessel for Kusher, specifically for Ahem, which forced citizens to search for an alternative route that is more rugged, costly, fatigue and discomfort.
Al-Houthis are unjustly blocking the road of Mustaba and Kusher and imposed a siege on its people who are living very difficult conditions because the lack of access of petroleum products to terminals, as well as their lack of many basic needs and differences in prices that make their life worse.
Citizens who met by the team said that al-Houthis attacked directly on villages with artillery and heavy weapons and engaged with murder, wound, and the displacement of about 15,000 people from the region, where they became displaced in the neighboring districts after the war forced them to leave their homes, and the disruption of their salaries due to the violent war.
The legal and media team received from the media center of Hagur tribes documents that had found in the area of al-Mazra’ah, which was patrolled by al-Houthis, and it included plans of coordinates to hit houses and gathering places in Kusher district by using different mortar, artillery and other heavy and medium weapons.
Those plans and coordinates also included some of the names of different places including the target of the Qur'an House in Ahem area, as al-Houthis called it as the house of fraud and disbelief as well as the American compound in reference to the headquarters of the Yemeni Islah Party in the same area.
The team saw the scream slogan of al-Houthis has been printed in the walls of houses, shops and mosques and on the roadsides in a manner described by Kusher citizens as a provocation, as well as their closing a lot of schools and houses of worship for no other reason but because they refused to sing their slogan as stated by some people who met by the team.
Citizens, in the displaced camp, are demanding the state to intervene and not to stand silent and idly in front of their case and from those who they described them as the occupiers, al-Houthis.
They also called for humanitarian organizations to provide shelter and tents, as it was not distributed enough tents, only a small amount did not meet the minimum of their need for shelter, and they also lack from food, bed and medication, and so far they didn’t receive any assistance from any side.
The team has received from the Media Center of Hagur tribes the latest statistics for damages and human and material losses suffered as a result of the war, and they are as follows:
94 dead and 154 wounded, and the closure of 9 schools and 20 mosques and the closure of 7 clinics and burning 3000 Quran and the closure of 9 Petroleum stations, and the displacement of nearly 15,000 citizen that equivalent of 5,000 households.
Statistics indicate that 2750 workers lost their jobs and their interests due to Ahem market bombing by mortars and artillery fire by militants of al-Houthi stationed in the mountains and in Ab Modaour area.
Information provided by the Media Center said that al-Houthis murdered the child Ameen Raypan, after his abduction, kidnapping and torture as well as detained a number of people from Kusher Directorate, including Ali Mohamed Qaid Gahouh and mining the dead bodies and the homes of citizens and some government institutions.
• Fourth: the local authorities
On Tuesday 13/ 3/2012, the team visited the leadership of the local authority in the province where they met both the Secretary-General of the province Ameen al-Qudami and Deputy of the province, Sheikh Ismail Al-Mahim, which they noted that al-Houthis came from outside the province to expand, and they came armed in many numbers and aroused the concern of the local authorities and citizens. And they have received a number of communications on practices and attacks by these elements, and prevent people from praying in mosques.
Al-Qudami said that he contacted with the former President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the current President Abd Rabo Mansour Hadi, and Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, commander of the North region, but they asked us to do any exit that helping to calm the situation, without providing any other help.
He emphasized that the potential of the local authority, security and military, is less than of al-Houthi potentials, which controls the Directorate of Mustaba and blocked the main roads that leading to the rest of the districts.
Al-Mahim who belongs to the Directorate of Mustaba said that the people of the directorate are under pressure and oppression and they refuse to take their area as a base for al-Houthis who wants to beat Kusher districts, and refuse to cut off the main road passing their district, and to prevent pass through to and from Harradh city.
According to Al-Mahim, any reconciliation did not contain the departure of al-Houthis from the Directorate of Mustaba and the rest of the villages and areas of Hajjah province will not lead to a solution.
He said he appreciates Hagur tribes for prevent al-Houthis expansion in the province, and their defense of their lands which was in defense of the entire province.
- We did not find in the area of Abu Dowar, which al-Houthis are based there, any damage or destruction, and they prevented the team to visit any facilities that the citizens say it is affected and controlled by them in Mustaba.
- We noted the presence of three checkpoints to al-Houthi gunmen on the road from Khamis Mustaba to Bani Dowar with the presence of armed children in those points who are used in the confrontations.
- There is a camp in the area Bani Khamj for citizens displaced from Ahem and Kusher regions and said that they were displaced from their homes due to attacks on their areas by al-Houthis who occupied their homes.
We found in our way to Ahem region two camps for displaced people in Wadi al-Aredh valley that is the largest where extending over an area of 2 square kilometers, starts from the station Al-Moballel and ends to school of Ammar bin Yasser in Khairan Directorate coves on the side of the valley, the population has fled from Ahem, al-Qudain, al-hazha and al-Hobwah villages.
- According to witnesses, al-Houthis mined the governmental institutions of a vocational training center and the security center of Ahem region and mining bodies of the dead and a number of houses.
- Ahem market city is empty from the population with the presence of damages in some homes as a result of shelling by al-Houthis.
- The visiting team felt on the urgency of the citizens to depart out the insurgents who came from other provinces to their area, as well as the great displeasure of the State's laggard position.
- The team visited a number of houses and private institutions destroyed by the bombing of al-Houthis on Ahem region, including mosques, schools and educational institutes.
- Al-Houthis refused to allow the team to visit some government institutions they control in the area of Ahem and Mustaba.
- Al-Houthis refused to give any information on the numbers of dead and wounded in their side, and said that there were dead among the two parties and estimated by hundreds.
- The team saw gunmen belong to al-Houthi assault on the citizen Ahmed Ali Abu Ga’ran after raising his voice in front of the visiting team calling for al-Houthis to leave Mustaba territory, where the Houthis beat him with rifle butts.
- Shooting fire from the building of vocational training center in Ahem during the visit of media and legal team for the region, and Houthis has been admitted to their station at the center.
- The Team received a tip on his way back to prevent a member of the supervision committee from the implementation of the last clauses of the treaty from passing the areas they control in Mustaba what forced him to return and spend the night in the areas controlled by tribes.
- The Team received a tip for the death of citizen, and others injured in a landmine explosion planted by Houthis in the home of the dead citizen who returned to inspect his home at Ahem market.
- Citizens living in areas of the Directorate of Ahem in difficult situations due to the blockade imposed on them by al-Houthi militants who control the corridors leading to the Directorate.
- The citizens forced to pass the dirt and rugged road to reach to Ahem area and the transfer of basic necessities of the city, causing a rise in commodity prices in general rates ranging between 30 to 60% and rising prices of water tankers that being moved from the valleys up the distance to the double times the distance of the original valleys.
- Citizens informed the team that officials of the local authority in Mustaba region involved with Houthis and delivered them the Directorate easily.
• Finally, the recommendations:
- The team recommends al-Houthi group to lift the points and the siege imposed on the people of Ahem region and opening roads and allowing citizens to pass and not intercepted or detained or abducted, and not to use children in armed conflicts and wars.
- The team recommends al-Houthi group to evacuate the government facilities completely, and disarm mines planted in the region.
- The team recommends the two parties to work on the implementation of the truce signed on 27/1 /2 012 and lift barracks and to return life to normal.
- The team recommends visiting local and international organizations working in the humanitarian field to pay attention to the tragic situation of displaced people in camps.
- The team recommends visiting President of the Republic and the Government of National Unity and the local authority and the military committee to extend the influence of the state and protect the citizens, and stop the bloodshed in the districts of Mustaba and Kusher and dismantling of roads and work on extraction of mines and the return of displaced people to their homes.
- The media and legal team calls for attorney general to investigate the crimes committed against innocent citizens.
- The team recommends visiting various media means to show the humanitarian situation in areas of Hogur and give it more attention.
Issued by the media and legal team
Who visited the regions of Mustaba and Kusher