SANAA, Yemen — The nephew of Yemen’s late President Ali Abdullah Saleh has surfaced on Thursday in the country’s south, weeks after he disappeared after death of Saleh at hands of his onetime allies, the Houthi rebels.
Brig. Gen. Tareq Mohammed Abdullah Saleh disappeared from Sanaa following intense fighting between forces loyal to the ousted president and the Iranian-backed Shiite rebels, known as the Houthis.
The younger Saleh, who led the fight against Houthis alongside his uncle, commanded Presidential Guard forces up until late 2011, when the older Saleh stepped down under pressure from a popular uprising.
Saleh’s forces and the Houthis joined ranks in 2014, sweeping the capital and northern Yemen and forced the internationally recognized government of Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to flee. Months later, a Saudi-led coalition backed Hadi’s government and waged an all-out campaign against the Houthis and Saleh’s forces.
The Houthi-Saleh alliance was an uneasy one, as the Houthis maintained the upper hand in ruling northern Yemen. When the alliance unraveled last month, fighting raged and in less than a week the Houthis claimed that they had killed Saleh as he tried to flee the capital. Witnesses, however, said that Saleh was killed in his home in Sanaa along with top aides.
The Houthis have since carried out raids and detained members of Saleh’s family, political party, tribe and forces.
They have been also searching for Tareq Saleh for weeks, storming scores of homes in Sanaa to find him. According to officials, he appeared in the southern province of Shabwa where he was visiting the family of Aref al-Zoqa, the slain secretary-general of the People General Congress, Yemen’s ruling party, who was killed alongside Saleh last month.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press.