Appointment could signal an overture between the government and factions still loyal to slain Saleh
Aden: Yemen’s government on Saturday named a brother of slain former president Ali Abdullah Saleh to a top army post.
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 appointment could, however, signal an overture between the government of Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi, which has fought Iran-backed Al Houthis for four years, and political factions still loyal to slain Saleh, the official said.
Saleh ruled Yemen for more than three decades until he was forced to resign following an Arab Spring uprising in 2011.
He remained in the country, however, and continued to wield power from behind the scenes.
In 2014, his forces allied with Al Houthi militia, despite the fact that as president he had gone to war with them.
There had been simmering tensions between the two awkward allies in past months that boiled over in December when Saleh suggested he would cooperate with Hadi — he was assassinated shortly after.
Since then senior members of Saleh’s party have either been executed or placed under house arrest by Al Houthis amid a draconion crackdown.
The Yemeni army has since splintered, with factions in the capital Sana’a maintaining loyalty to Al Houthis, other brigades allied with the Saudi-led coalition and some troops in southern Yemen standing by separatists.
Nearly 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 Al Houthis from Sana’a and restoring the government to power.
More than 2,300 Yemenis have died of cholera and 70 of diphtheria amid deteriorating hygiene and sanitation conditions, the World Health Organisation says.
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.