Yemen ceasefire holding despite rebel breaches: general

Renewed hopes that the truce can form the cornerstone of a long-lasting peace deal

Afp April 11, 2016
A Houthi follower rises a weapon as he attends a rally marking one year of Saudi-led air strikes, in Yemen's capital Sanaa, March 26, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS

YEMEN: A ceasefire that took effect in Yemen at midnight was largely holding on Monday despite some violations by rebel fighters, said a general loyal to President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi.

"The truce has not collapsed and we hope the (Huthi) rebels end their attacks and respect the ceasefire," said the armed forces chief of staff, General Mohamed Ali al-Makdashi.

Makdashi said his forces were ready to "stop any attempt by the Huthis to advance".

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The general accused the Iran-backed Shiite rebels of violating the ceasefire on several fronts since it entered into force at 2100 GMT on Sunday.

The breaches occurred in the cities of Taez in southwestern Yemen and Marib east of the capital Sanaa, and the province of Jawf farther to the north, he said.

A rebel missile fired towards Marib from the region of Sanaa was intercepted soon after the ceasefire began, he added.

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In Taez, the military commission in Yemen's third largest city said it had recorded "12 ceasefire violations by the rebels".

The commission said Huthi gunfire killed a civilian and wounded several others in the city, adding: "Our response was limited to self-defence."

Loyalist and rebel forces have pledged to honour the UN-brokered ceasefire, adding to cautious optimism ahead of new talks to reach a lasting peace deal.

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There are renewed hopes the truce can form the cornerstone of a long-lasting peace deal that can be hammered out from April 18 in Kuwait.

Three earlier attempts collapsed after a Saudi-led coalition in March 2015 began air strikes to support the Hadi government and push back the Huthis who overran Sanaa in September 2014 before advancing to other regions.

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