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Houthi education officials have publicly intervened in the case, after protesters demanded the arrest of a prominent merchant

A school teacher's murder in Sana'a has put Houthi authorities on the defensive

The murder of a school teacher in Sana’a last week has caught Houthi authorities in the capital off guard, as protestors demand the arrest of a prominent Houthi merchant accused of the crime. 

Hundreds of protesters staged a vigil over the weekend in front of the education office of Sana’a to demand the arrest of Murad Nasser Al-Faqih, the owner of a car dealership in Sana’a, who allegedly broke into Al-Kayan private school on Wednesday and beat 42-year-old teacher Faisal Saad Al-Raimi to death in front of students and colleagues.

The murder comes as school teachers in Houthi-controlled areas raise awareness about the rebels’ unwelcomed influence in classrooms. The Yemeni Teachers’ Union documented more than 4,000 mandatory propaganda events this year for teachers and students in Sana’a governorate aimed at mobilizing large groups of fighters. Teachers who refused to participate in the events were threatened with dismissal from their positions, according to the union

An education official who attended the the vigil told Almasdar Online that Abdullah Al-Wazir, deputy director of Sana'a's education office, asked the protesters to not let the vigil get out of hand, as it "serves the agenda of the external aggression,” referring to the Saudi-led coalition. 

Abdullah Al-Naimi, undersecretary of education at the Houthi-run Ministry of Education, issued a rare statement three days after the murder, amid growing public outrage, claiming that authorities were following up on the case. Houthi authorities had arrested some of the men involved in the murder, he said, and a search was underway for the remaining suspects. A security source told Almasdar Online that the Houthi authorities had overstated their efforts to pursue the suspects. Al-Faqih was still free as of Monday evening.

For the protesters, Al-Faqih's freedom sends the signal that influential Houthi loyalists can commit crimes, even murder, with impunity. 

It’s unclear why Al-Faqih stormed Al-Raimi’s classroom, but two sources told Almasdar Online that Al-Faqih was upset that his son had been disciplined by the same teacher at school earlier that day.


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