By Murad al-Arifi
Tariq Saleh, nephew of Yemen’s slain former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, showed up on Thursday in the city of Ataq in Yemen’s central Shabwa province, belying reports that he had been killed last month, according to a Yemeni government source.
The source, who spoke to Anadolu Agency anonymously due to security concerns, said Tariq had arrived in Ataq accompanied by members of an elite pro-government force backed by the United Arab Emirates.
“Tariq Saleh visited the home of a local tribal leader while members of the UAE-backed force secured the residence,” the source said.
Saudi-led coalition warplanes, meanwhile, flew over Ataq to protect Tariq’s convoy after he arrived in the city to offer condolences to the family of Arif al-Zouka, the head of the slain president’s General People's Congress (GPC), who was also reportedly killed by Houthi militiamen last month.
In December, local media reported that Tariq had been killed -- alongside al-Zouka and his uncle, the former president -- by Houthi militiamen south of capital Sanaa.
Ali Abdullah Saleh, who served as Yemen’s president from 1990 to 2012, had earlier been considered an ally of the Houthis but had appeared to have had a falling out with the group shortly before his death last month.
Yemen has been dogged by violence since 2014, when the Houthis -- backed at the time by forces loyal to Saleh’s GPC -- overran much of the country, including Sanaa.