Dozens of Houthi militants have stormed the headquarters of a state-run oil company in the Yemen capital Sanaa, preventing its employees from entering or leaving the premises, according to a source at the company.
The Houthis overran the Safer Company on Wednesday "claiming that they have an order from the prosecutor general Ali Awaash to dismiss the company's director Ahmed Kulaib amd his deputy Seif Sherif," the source told Anadolu Agency.
The Houthis have yet to comment on the ongoing incident which comes hours after a Houthi leader was targetted in a suspected al-Qaeda car bombing in the town of Rada.
Fifteen schoolgirls were killed, along with 10 others, when their bus was caught in the attack outside the home of Abdallah Idriss, a security source said.
The attack “bore the hallmarks” of al-Qaeda, the security source told AFP.
Blaming al-Qaeda, the Yemeni defence ministry on Tuesday condemned “this cowardly attack on the home of a citizen and a school bus".
The Sunni extremist AQAP has yet to claim responsibility, but last month its military chief Qassem al-Rimi vowed to launch fierce attacks against the Shiite militia.
“To the Houthis we say: brace yourselves for horrors that will make the hair of children turn white,” he said at the time.
Saleh loyalists derail vote
Tuesday’s attack was the second bombing to target Houthis in Rada in little more than a month.
On 12 November, a suicide bomber killed dozens of people gathered at the residence of a tribal chief in the town.
The mixed Sunni-Shiite town has seen heavy fighting since the Houthis took over parts of it in October, with al-Qaeda settings its sights on Rada.
State authority has weakened in the face of the rivalries on the ground.
Armed Houthis on Tuesday surrounded the defence ministry in Sanaa after having been denied access, a military source said.
Another group of Shiite militiamen broke into the offices of Ath-Thawra newspaper demanding the dismissal of the chairman of the board, Faisal Makram, a source at the official daily told AFP.
The militiamen said they were following orders from their leader, Abdelmalek al-Huthi, “to end corruption in all state institutions".
In another sign of its weakness, the government of Khaled Bahah lost a parliamentary vote of confidence on Tuesday.
Loyalists of ousted former president Ali Abdullah Saleh derailed the vote by leaving the assembly.
Lawmakers from Saleh’s General People’s Congress staged the walkout in protest after the party’s office in the southern city of Aden was shut.
“The closure of the headquarters of our party in Aden by the security forces does not help the government,” said Sultan al-Barakani, head of the GPC’s parliamentary bloc.
Saleh remains influential in Yemen nearly three years after he was forced to step aside following a bloody year-long crackdown on Arab Spring-inspired protests against his iron-fisted rule.