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Former President Hadi Flees Capital

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YEMEN’S former president Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has fled the capital, Sanaa, weeks after he was put under house arrest by Houthi rebels who forced him to resign.

   Mr Hadi later arrived in the main southern city of Aden. It comes a day after rival parties agreed on the formation of a transitional council to govern the country. Yemen has been in crisis since the takeover by the Houthis, a Shia group.

   UN mediator Jamal Benomar announced the preliminary accord between feuding factions on Thursday and hailed it as “an important step”.

   It is not clear why Mr Hadi was allowed to leave his home. Aides close to the former president told the Associated Press news agency that he was freed after pressure from the United Nations, the US, Russia and local political parties.

   Mr Hadi is said to be at his home in a district of Aden. His residence in Sanaa was looted after he left, witnesses said. Hadi’s supporters in Aden have so far refused to recognise what they denounce as a political coup.

Last week, the governors of the provinces of Aden, Lahij and Mahra demanded the reinstatement of Mr Hadi and reaffirmed their support for Yemen becoming a federation of six regions.

   Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in September, before capturing the presidential palace and placing Mr Hadi under house arrest. He then quit his presidential post, saying he could not continue under such pressure.

   The Houthis dissolved parliament and installed a five-member “presidential council” on February 6.

   This sparked security concerns that saw several Arab and Western states close their embassies and remove diplomats.

  Since overrunning Sanaa, the Houthis have expanded their control to coastal areas and regions south of the capital.

   Their takeover was denounced as a coup by rival political factions and prompted mass protests, mainly from the country’s Sunni majority.

   The Houthis have also faced fierce resistance from Sunni tribes and al-Qaeda militants.


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