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15 people killed in sectarian violence in N Yemen

09-22-2012 22:34 BJT

SANAA, Sept. 22 (Xinhua) -- At least 15 people were killed in the two-day sectarian violence in Yemenbetween Shiite and Sunni groups battling for dominating northern regions, tribal dignitaries said Saturday.

"The clashes erupted on Friday in the city of Rada in Amran governorate, after the Shiite fundamentalists stormed a Sunni- control mosque to attempt to dominate it, killing three Sunni followers and injuring other dozens," tribal dignitary Yahya Taher told Xinhua by phone.

Further 12 people, most of whom are Sunni extremists belonging to the leading opposition Sunni Islamic Islah Party, were killed on Saturday, when the clashes were renewed following the collapse of tribal mediation attempts, said Taher.

Amran province, about 50 km north of the capital Sanaa, has witnessed a deadly sectarian fighting between the rival groups over the few past months, leaving hundreds of people dead.

The Shiite group, also known as Houthi rebel, who controls most parts of Saada, signed a ceasefire deal with the Yemeni government in August 2010, putting an end to an on-and-off war since 2004.

However, the Shiites have involved in sectarian clashes with local Sunni tribesmen, which rocked the northern regions and forced thousands of local residents to flee the conflict to remote areas.

The tension has escalated after the central government's control is weakened by one-year protests against former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, as the well-armed Shiite group has been trying to take advantage of the security vacuum to expand their control over the country's northern regions.

Yemeni President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who took office in February in a political settlement brokered by neighboring oil- rich Saudi Arabia and backed by the United Nations, has promised to launch a national dialogue to settle disputes between all political factions.


Editor:James |Source: Xinhua

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