Yemen's Houthi rebels 'hand over control' of Hodeida port

Yemen's Houthi rebels 'hand over control' of Hodeida port
Security officials have said that control of Hodeida port was handed over to Yemen's government under the supervision of UN monitors.
2 min read
29 December, 2018
Houthi rebels handed over control of the lifeline Red Sea port on Saturday [Getty]

Yemen's Houthi rebels have said control of the main port in the Red Sea city of Hodeida has been handed over to the government's navy and coast guard, security officials said on Saturday.

They said Saturday's transfer was carried out under the supervision of UN monitors as part of a deal reached in peace talks in Sweden earlier this month.

The officials spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to brief the media.

However, some Yemeni observers have claimed that control has been given to Houthi fighters dressed in coast guard uniforms and that Hodieda effectively remains in rebel hands.

A UN monitoring team led by retired Dutch general Patrick Cammaert arrived in Hodeida last week after a truce came into effect on 18 December in the port city and its surrounding areas.

Sporadic clashes have threatened the fragile truce and both sides have accused each other of numerous violations.

The war between the Houthi rebels and troops loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi escalated in 2015, when he fled into Saudi exile and the Saudi-led military coalition intervened.

Talks held between the warring sides in Sweden earlier this month marked the first attempt in two years to broker an end to the Yemen conflict, which has killed more than 10,000 people - though rights groups say the actual figure is five times higher.

Some 14 million people are at imminent risk of starvation in Yemen, according to UN estimates.