Yemen government names Saleh's brother to top army post

Yemen government names Saleh's brother to top army post
2 min read
18 March, 2018
A brother of Yemen's slain former President Ali Abdullah Saleh has been announced as the new head of the country's army reserve, reports said on Saturday.
Saleh was killed by Houthi forces in December [Getty]

Yemen's government named a brother of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, for years an enemy of the state, to a top army post on Saturday.

A presidential decree published on the state-run Saba  news agency named Ali al-Humeiri, half-brother of Saleh, head of Yemen's army reserve.

The position is little more than ink on paper, insiders say, as the troops are effectively controlled by Yemen's Houthi rebels on the ground. 

A local government official in Aden - the temporary capital - confirmed that the reserve was under the control of the Houthis, who in 2014 joined ranks with former president Saleh to drive the government out of the capital Sanaa. 

The appointment could, however, signal an overture between the government of Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi, which has fought the Houthis for four years, and political factions still loyal to slain Saleh, the official said. 

More than 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since March 2015, when a regional military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened with the aim of pushing the Houthis from Sanaa and restoring the government to power.

But years later, the Houthis have only tightened their grip on the capital after gunning down Saleh in December, following weeks of accusations that he had been holding secret talks with the Saudi-allied government.

The Yemeni army has since splintered, with factions in the capital Sanaa maintaining loyalty to the Houthis, other brigades allied with the Saudi-led coalition and some troops in southern Yemen standing by UAE-backed separatists who want to restore independence.  


Meanwhile, more than 2,300 Yemenis have died of cholera and 70 of diphtheria amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organisation said.

The Yemen war has triggered what the United Nations calls the world's largest humanitarian crisis. Multiple rounds of UN-brokered talks have failed to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict.

On Thursday, the UN Security Council warned that conditions in war-torn Yemen are worsening and having a "devastating" impact on civilians, with 22.2 million now in need of humanitarian assistance.

The council cited indiscriminate attacks on densely populated areas, with large numbers of civilian casualties and damage to civilian structures.

A donor's conference is expected to be held soon in Geneva, and the council encouraged member states to contribute.

Agencies contributed to this report.