World Bulletin / News Desk
An elder from Yemen's Arhab tribe in northern Sanaa said Tuesday that several local villages had been vacated due to ongoing clashes with members of the Shiite Houthi militant group.
"The village of Shiraa and other neighboring villages saw the mass departure of their inhabitants after Houthi militants blew up a number of houses in the village," Da'aam al-Zubairi, an elder of the Arhab tribe, told The Anadolu Agency.
"Some 32 families, who account for the entire population of Shiraa village, have escaped the tense security situation in the village and headed to Sanaa," al-Zubairi said.
"The Houthis blew up five houses, a mosque and a storage facility," he said, adding that "bombings and abductions" were "still occurring in nearby villages."
For the last several months, Yemen's Shiite Houthi group – which boasts thousands of diehard supporters – has been trying to step up its armed presence across the fractious country.
The Houthis recently emerged as a political and military power in Yemen after taking over capital Sanaa, from which they have sought to extend their influence into other provinces.
The Houthis' growing power has pitted the group against Sunni tribes and Al-Qaeda, the latter of which is said to still be active in certain parts of the country.
The recent ascendance of the Shiite Houthis, meanwhile, has become a cause for concern in predominantly Sunni-Muslim Gulf States.