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Yemen president Hadi replaces defense minister detained by Houthis

The Yemeni president replaced the defense minister and the army chief of staff, as government forces press a five-month assault on the rebel-held port of Hodeidah, state media said.

President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi named Mohammed al-Maqdashi as defense minister to replace Mahmoud al-Subaihi who has been detained by the rebels for years, the government-run Saba news agency reported on Thursday, November 8.

Hadi had not replaced the detained minister since the rebels overran the capital Sana’a.

The Houthis named Subaihi head of a security committee when they took power over Sana’a in February 2015, and reports that he escaped the group that March or been freed had proven untrue.

The naming of a replacement comes days after neutral Oman intervened in an attempt to secure Subaihi’s release.

Maqdishi is close to Yemeni Vice President Ali Mohsen Al Ahmar and was tasked with leading Yemen’s armed forces during the Houthi uprising, according to the National.

Hadi also named Abdullah al-Nakhii as chief of staff.

A week of intense fighting for Hodeidah has left hundreds of combatants dead as government forces backed by a Saudi-led coalition advance into the rebel-held port city.

Hadi last month fired his prime minister on accusations of corruption.

He named Moueen Abdulmalik Saeed, a former minister of public works with ties to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as the new head of government.

The World Health Organisation estimates nearly 10,000 people have been killed since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies intervened after Hadi fled into exile.

Human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

With reporting from AFP

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