If one needed further proof that Yemen, the poorest country and now most insecure nation of the Arabic Peninsula was descending into utter chaos, one would only have to look at the growing civil unrest and claims of sectarianism massacre taking place in the northern Yemeni province of Sa'ada.
For almost a decade al-Houthis, a group of Shia fighters loyal to sheikh Abdel-Malek al Houthi, son of the well-known Imam Badderin al-Houthi, who gave birth to the Shia liberation movement, fought president Saleh government, wanting to free themselves from the yoke of the Republic as they aspire to return to the ancestral rule of the Imam.
Al-Houthis fighters as they are called, fought the Yemeni forces for 6 long years in the northern province of Sa'ada, their realm, before eventually agreeing to a ceasefire with the government in 2010. Despite the truce, violence and armed clashes have since then been a part of the norm, leaving the civilian population to bare the blunt of a life under siege.
With the ongoing popular uprising calling for the immediate departure of president Saleh, the Shia fighters are believed to have resumed their offensives against the Sunni population within the province according to official reports, targeting innocent law-abiding citizens.
Interestingly, al-Houthis are now publicly refuting the government's allegations, accusing the regime of heinous crimes against their people, saying that it is Saleh's people who are doing the massacring, not the other way around.
A Bloody Tale
According to several residents' accounts in Sa'ada, al-Houthi militia would have willingly targeted civilian population in town and villages throughout the province, making a point at only killing those appertaining to the supporters of the regime.
In one recorded incident, several villagers amongst whom women, children and elderly, would have been savagely murdered by one of the armed groups; some beaten up and tortured before their execution. A total of 14 people were found buried under rubbles.
Claims that al-Houthis are victimizing the community in its northern provinces have been a recurrent theme of late. However, such allegations are extremely difficult to adequately verify since access to this part of the country has been under a quasi-total lockdown over the past few weeks by both Shia and Sunni tribes.
In an unprecedented cry for help, the people of Sa'ada are now breaking the silence, speaking of the horrors they say they have been enduring from the hands of the Shia militants. It is important to note at this stage that what will follow are accounts which the Yemen Post could not independently verify and therefore aren't to be taken as necessarily truthful and unbiased.
So much raw emotions are surrounding Sa'ada on both sides of the fence that determining where the truth lies has become a bit of a juggling act.
Quite recently a man, called Mohamed revealed what he and his family were subjected to as a result of the conflict opposing the government troops and that al al-Houthis.
His tale he said was that of Sa'ada, a province caught in between the will of a tribe and of a government; a people who despite not supporting al-Houthis, have been associated to them for they share the same religious denomination or simply happened to be leaving in the area.
Mohamed accused the regime of having left the Sa'ada people to their pitiful fate, allowing al-Houthis to do as they pleased in the region.
He specifically recalled that on March, 19th 2011 al-Houthis fighters enter the town of Sa'ada, "blowing up houses ", and killing women and children indiscriminately.
On that tragic day his house fell victim of a blast, burying in its rubbles, his wife, mother and child. To make matters worse, the Shia fighters shot numerous rounds at the site, determined not to let anyone escape alive.
Mohamed added that the tribesmen prevented anyone to help rescue the injured, indifferent to the agonizing cries of dying children, which are now haunting his nights, constant reminders of his bereavement.
After much pleading and negotiating, the town's residents were eventually allowed to reach the injured. As the men searched frantically for any sigh of life throughout the remains of their city, only 7 people were found alive.
Mohamed concluded his tale by saying that he would never have though that human being cold ever be capable of such nonsensical atrocities.
Misery is Us
Sadly, Mohamed's tale of misery did not end with the death of his family…
Forever wounded and traumatized, Mohamed has now to rebuild his life from the ground up, with neither help nor support.
Mohamed recalled asking the government for help as he needed to found a new home but did not have any money. Like many others in his situation he said he'd hoped for the regime to act compassionately given the circumstances.
Instead he claimed that he was treated with contempt by state officials.
Mohamed who now lives in abject poverty says that his life is a never-ending trail of hardship and misery, where hunger, cold and despair are his daily companions.
To make matters worse, Mohamed's salary has been cut out in half by the government since he moved to the capital, Sana'a. Although he's not quite sure why, Mohamed said that he assumed it had to do with a collusion of power in Sa'ada in between al-Houthis and the government.
Tired of leaving what he sees as an injustice, Mohamed declared that he wanted the World to know of Sa'ada, of the misery that people had to endure.
"Why is this? What sins have we committed for a man to turn on his brother?"
Similar accounts to that of Mohamed are now emerging, unveiling the reality of hundreds of villagers living in the Sa'ada province. Hostages of a feud they say is not theirs, they want the outside world to understand.
What they want and need is help from the central government. What they want and need is for their nightmare to end and the cries of their children to be replaced by laughter.
*Yemen Post could not verify the truth of the story from the Houthi movement.