World Bulletin/News Desk
Yemen's interior minister on Friday assigned Brig. Gen. Abdul Razzaq al-Marouni to head up Yemen's Special Forces, according to the country's official news agency.
The news agency did not give the reasons for the selection of al-Marouni, who has been described by local media as an "affiliate" of Yemen's Shiite Houthi militant group because his family belongs to the Shiite Zaidiyya sect of Islam.
The decision came after clashes broke out Thursday between special forces personnel and Houthi militants on one hand, and forces loyal to Gen. Mohamed al-Ghadra on the other, following demands for al-Ghadra's resignation.
Hours after the clashes, a Houthi-affiliated journalist posted information on Facebook indicating that al-Marouni had been appointed to head up the country's special forces.
Yemeni Special Forces, previously known as Central Security Forces, were formed in line with a November 2013 presidential decree aimed at streamlining the Interior Ministry.
Yemen has recently appeared on the verge of civil war, as the Houthis seek to expand their control beyond capital Sanaa, which they took over in September.
The Houthis' growing influence in the country has pitted the Shiite movement against both Al-Qaeda – which is said to remain active in politically fractious Yemen – and allied tribes.
Recent fighting between the warring camps in the country's central and western regions has left hundreds dead.
Last Mod: 22 Kasım 2014, 10:27