The northern area of Haijah was the scene of violent clashes between Houthi Shia insurgents and Sunni gunmen loyal to the central government. The Houthis are seizing more territory. A leader of the Sunni gunmen claimed that 40 of the dead were rebels.
The Houthis claim that the Sunnis attacked them and that they were supported not only by the central government but by Saudi Arabia. The clashes are ongoing. The Sunni group supported President Saleh quite strongly.
The Houthis have demanded more autonomy from the central government for years. The demand has often broken out into open conflict with the central government. The Sunni group complained that Houthis have killed 71 of their people during the last two months without even counting the recent clashes. For more see this article.