UN Report: Secret Service is Houthi’s Most Influential Organ

  • According to the UN report, its role has become more prominent after the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in December 2017.
  • The most recent UN investigation stated that it had documented some aspects of the "Zainabiyat" violations.
  • Al-Houthi worked through his secret apparatus to buy and rent hundreds of homes in the "political neighborhood."

The latest report of the UN Security Council’s team of UN experts on Yemen described the Houthi secret security weapon known as the “Preventive Security” as the group’s most influential organ. It also revealed its most repressive tasks, stressing that it operates outside known security structures, and the group’s leader, Abdul-Malik al-Houthi directly.

The Houthi movement (called Ansar Allah “Supporters of God”), is an Islamic religious-political-armed movement that emerged from Sa’dah in northern Yemen in the 1990s. They are of the Zaidi sect, though the movement reportedly also includes Sunnis.

While this Houthi apparatus is fraught with much ambiguity regarding its most repressive leaders, and is contributing to protecting the group from within, according to the UN report, its role has become more prominent after the killing of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh in December 2017.

The report pointed out that the work of this Houthi weapon focuses on monitoring the movement of the group and protecting it from infiltration, and one of its responsibilities is to review the reports of the Houthi supervisors and ensure that the group’s fighters do not flee from the fronts, and take charge of separating the group’s members in the case of inter-confrontations, as well as arresting the group’s leaders.

The international team confirmed that it had interviewed one of the women, who had been deprived of her freedom by a leader in the Houthi militia and sexually harassed for her protest against the group, as it was found that he was a member of the Preventive Security apparatus. The UN report touched on the other repressive groups of the group, including the “security and intelligence” that it established last year after it dismantled the “political security” and “national security” devices, and arrested dozens of officers who were loyal to former President Ali Saleh.

Abdul-Malik Badreddin al-Houthi is a Yemeni politician who serves as the leader of the Zaidi revolution movement Ansar Allah (Houthis). The uprising has been called the Houthi Rebellion due to his leadership.

International investigators referred to the female Houthi apparatus known as “Zainabiyat,” and said that members of this apparatus are women drawn from Hashemite families, where they are directed to Yemeni women, they search homes, teach group ideas, and control women’s prisons. The most recent UN investigation stated that it had documented some aspects of the “Zainabiyat” violations, which included arbitrary detention and arrest, looting, sexual assault, beatings and torture, and facilitating rape in secret detention centers.

News sources had learned from security sources in Sanaa that the Houthis had sought to eliminate their ally, former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, with a secret multi-tasking security force called the “Preventive Security,” and would receive its orders directly from the group’s leader, Abdul-Malik Al-Houthi.

The sources revealed at the time that the Houthi “security apparatus” had worked for months to monitor the movements of all the former president, including his contacts and meetings, the contacts of his close associates, and the places he moved between, and they also obtained accurate information about the size of the forces loyal to him and the type of armament they possess.

Al-Houthi worked through his secret apparatus to buy and rent hundreds of homes in the “political neighborhood,” and the areas surrounding the houses owned by Saleh and his relatives and leaders near him, and they accumulated weapons inside them, and made them a shelter for hundreds of militants, waiting for the appropriate moment to pounce on Saleh and his associates.

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Benedict Kasigara

I have been working as a freelance editor/writer since 2006. My specialist subject is film and television having worked for over 10 years from 2005 during which time I was the editor of the BFI Film and Television.

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