Fares Mana'a

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Fares Mohammed Mana'a
Minister of State
Disputed
Assumed office
28 November 2016
President Saleh Ali al-Sammad
Prime Minister Abdel-Aziz bin Habtour
Governor of Sa'dah*
In office
27 March 2011 – December 2014
Preceded by Taha Hajer
Personal details
Born ( 1965-02-08) February 8, 1965 (age 52)
Sa'dah, Yemen
Nationality Yemeni
Political party Independent
GPC (until March 2011)
Profession Arms-dealer, businessman, former governor
Religion Twelver Shia Islam
Military service
Allegiance Houthis
Battles/wars Houthi insurgency in Yemen
  • His authority as governor was not recognised by the Yemeni government in Sana'a

Fares Mohammed Mana'a (born February 8, 1965)[1][2] is a top Yemeni arms-dealer,[1][2] businessman,[3] rebel commander and politician.[4] He is said to be Yemen's most famous arms-dealer.[5] Mana'a was born on February 8, 1965 in the northern city of Sa'dah[2] and was an ally of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh and member of his ruling GPC party[4] and served as head of his presidential committee and as head of a local council tasked with mediating a peace-deal between the Yemeni government and Houthis during the Shia insurgency in Yemen. His brother was the governor of Saada Governorate at the time.[3][6]

His name was put on a UN Security Council list of people accused of trafficking arms to Somali Islamist insurgent group Al-Shabaab,[1][2] which is considered as a terrorist organisation by the United States[7] and is accused of with al-Qaeda.[8] This led to his assets being frozen by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.[9][10] He was also accused of receiving millions in funds from the then Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi,[11] spying for Libya and supplying arms to the Houthis.[10] Mana'a denied these charges claiming that arms had been stolen by Houthis from an arms deposit he owned. In October 2009[12] was put at the top of a blacklist of Yemeni arms-dealers, after which he was put under surveillance.[1][2][10]

In late January 2010, Mana'a was arrested by Yemeni authorities[12] leading to protests in Sa'dah by tribal chiefs and the resignation of his brother, Hassan Mana'a, as governor.[13] In May, a mini-bus driver was killed and a policeman and a civilian woman were injured[12] as a group of Manaa's men attacked the car in which he was being transported to a penal court. This resulted in his trial being delayed by 25 days.[10][12] He was eventually released on June 4,[12] after which his relations with President Saleh soured.[4]

On March 19, Houthis attacked the city of Sa'dah,[14] starting a battle with pro-government al-Abdin tribesmen,[4] led by Yemeni lawmaker Sheikh Othman Majali.[15] During the battle, rebels joined forces with Fares Mana'a[10] and after their victory,[4][15] set up a local committee, composed of rebels, residents and defected military commanders,[16] which appointed him as the new governor of Sa'dah on 26 March, after the pro-Saleh governor Taha Hajer fled to the capital Sana'a.[4][15] He led the Houthis independent administration in Sa'dah governorate[15] until December 2014.[17]

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