Last updated: 8 December, 2014

Yemen military chief ‘fired’ as militia digs in

Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi has fired his armed forces chief of staff as Shiite militiamen delay their withdrawal from the capital they seized in September, media reports said Monday.

Under a presidential decree, General Hussein Naji Hadi Khairan replaces Ahmed Ali al-Ashouel, who moves to the Majlis al-Shura (consultative council), the lower chamber of parliament.

No reason was given for Hadi sacking Ashouel late on Sunday.

But it comes with the impoverished Arabian Peninsula state embroiled in political and military chaos and Ansarullah delaying a pullback it agreed to under a UN-brokered accord in September.

Five explosions targeting Ansarullah positions in Sanaa suburbs wounded eight people on Monday, the defence ministry website reported.

It cited the city’s police chief General Abderrazak al-Moyaed as saying the blasts came at homes and positions of the “popular committees” — Ansarullah and its supporters.

He said another two devices were defused, and that a search was under way “for other bombs the terrorists may have planted to attack the popular committees”.

The website said of the eight wounded, three were in a serious condition in hospital.

The Huthi militia swept south from its rugged northern stronghold to capture Sanaa before then extending its influence into central and west Yemen.

The unopposed Ansarullah offensive meant it was able to take over several government arms depots including those housing heavy weapons.

This further eroded the authority of the mostly Sunni Muslim state, already weakened by persistent attacks from Al-Qaeda militants in the south and east and by a southern separatist movement.