Yemen PM says Shia militia to end his house arrest

AFP , Monday 16 Mar 2015

File Photo: Yemeni Prime Minister Khaled Bahah listens to a reporter's questions at a news conference after his cabinet was sworn-in at the Presidential Palace in Sanaa November 9, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)

Yemeni Prime Minister Khalid Bahah said that he was poised to leave the capital Sanaa on Monday after Shia militia agreed to free him from two months of house arrest.

Bahah said on his Facebook page that other captive members of his government, which offered its resignation in January, would also be released in a "goodwill gesture" by the Huthi militia.

Western-backed President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi has said he never accepted the Bahah government's resignation and has called on ministers to join him in Yemen's second city Aden where he established his authority after escaping from Sanaa last month.

Defence Minister General Mahmud Subaihi reached Aden this month, escaping following a firefight with Huthi militiamen that killed at least one of his guards.

But Bahah said that his government "does not intend to to act as caretaker due to the exceptional circumstances" in the country.

He also announced no immediate plans to travel to Aden, saying he would head to his native province of Hadramawt in the southeast to visit his family.

Bahah said he had been held under house arrest by the Huthis since January 19 -- three days before he tendered his resignation.

He was one of a string of government members detained by the militia whose release the United Nations has repeatedly demanded.

The Huthis, who had been in effective control of the capital since last September, seized the presidential palace in January.

In February, they dissolved the government and parliament and formed a presidential council to replace Hadi but later that month he succeeded in escaping from the capital and establishing his authority in Aden.

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