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Yemen's Saleh buried in Sanaa with handful of relatives present

December 10, 2017 at 3:14 pm

Former Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh [DplmtcObserver/Twitter]

Yemen’s Houthi group has buried the body of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa, allowing only a handful of relatives to attend, sources from his General People’s Congress (GPC) party said on Sunday.

Saleh, 75, was killed by the Iran-aligned Houthis on Monday, after he had called for a “new page” in ties with a Saudi-led coalition that his supporters together with the Houthis had fought for nearly three years.

A GPC source, who has asked not to be identified, said the Houthis allowed less than 10 people from Saleh’s relatives to attend the night-time burial in the capital Sanaa, but gave no details on the exact location.

GPC Secretary-General Aref al-Zouka, who was killed with Saleh, was buried on Saturday in his native al-Saeed district of Shabwa province in southern Yemen after the Houthis handed over his body to tribal leaders, media and GPC officials said.

Profile: Ali Abdullah Saleh (21 March 1942 – 4 December 2017)

Relatives said on Thursday that Saleh’s family had refused conditions demanded by the Houthis for handing over the body. Some said they wanted to bury the body in the courtyard of a mosque he had built near the presidential compound in southern Sanaa.

Saleh ruled Yemen for 33 years before being forced to step down in 2012 in a Gulf-brokered transition plan following months of Arab Spring protests demanding democracy.

He remained in politics as the head of the GPC, Yemen’s largest political party, and in 2015 he joined forces with the Iran-aligned Houthis after they captured the capital Sanaa in a move that precipitated Saudi-led military intervention on the side of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.