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Last Updated: Saturday, 16 June 2007, 17:50 GMT 18:50 UK
Yemen rebels 'accept' ceasefire
Hussein al-Houthi
The rebels follow Shia cleric Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004
Shia rebels in Yemen have accepted a ceasefire proposed by the government to end months of violent clashes that have killed scores of people.

"In response to the call... and to prevent bloodshed, we declare a stop to violence and fighting," said rebel leader Abdul-Malik al-Houthi.

The rebels respected "the republican system and the constitution", he said in a statement sent to journalists.

The rebels had accused the government of being corrupt and close to the West.

Fighting flared in January after rebel attacks on the army. In February, at least 80 rebels were killed in clashes with government forces.

Yemen map

Yemen's government says the rebels are followers of Houthi's brother, Shia cleric Hussein al-Houthi, who was killed in 2004.

In 2006, the government released more than 600 Houthi followers in an amnesty deal.

Yemen has endured a sporadic three-year insurgency that has claimed hundreds of lives.

The rebels mostly come from the Zaidi Shia heartland in the north of the mainly Sunni country, between the capital, Sanaa, and the border with Saudi Arabia.


SEE ALSO
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14 Feb 07 |  Middle East
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02 Apr 07 |  Middle East
Yemen fears return of insurgency
05 Feb 07 |  Middle East
Country profile: Yemen
20 Apr 07 |  Country profiles



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