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As a six-month humanitarian truce brokered by the United Nations expired without extension, the fear for a return of violence to Yemen is spreading among the people in the war-torn country.
Many said that their hopes and aspirations for ending their woes inflicted by the more than seven years of deadly fighting were dashed as peace efforts were hampered by Yemen's warring factions and chaos gearing up for return.
"The Yemeni people were deeply disappointed with the decision of the Houthis who rejected the UN proposal for extending the truce which succeeded in ceasing the brutal conflict during the past period," an official of Aden's local authority told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
"Millions of people fear a descent into a new cycle of deadly civil war as the Houthis began with their military preparations for launching attacks in and outside the country," said the official.
He said that the Yemeni government made concessions and informed the United Nations about its agreement to extend the truce, but the Houthi militia's constant intransigence aborted peace efforts exerted by international and regional powers.
On Sunday, UN Special Envoy for Yemen Hans Grundberg announced that no agreement has been reached to renew the expired truce between the Yemeni warring parties.
"The UN Special Envoy regrets that an agreement has not been reached today, as an extended and expanded truce would provide additional critical benefits to the population," his office said in a statement.
Although the UN proposal for extending the truce has reflected the main terms that the Houthis have been demanding since the truce began on April 2, the Houthis have yet to make a statement on why they rejected the extension.
The Houthis on Saturday claimed that the government side did not remain committed to the previous six months of the truce, and warned foreign oil companies in the provinces controlled by the government to immediately cease operating or face missile attacks.
An official of Yemen's Ministry of Oil and Minerals based in Aden confirmed to Xinhua that "the Houthi terror threats of attacking foreign oil companies operating in Yemen created a nationwide panic and badly affected the country's deteriorating economy, particularly through pushing the national currency into further collapse just a day after failing to renew the truce."
"The Houthi threats mainly aimed at creating an abrupt cessation of the government's economic activities and loss of jobs, plunging the country's people into mass famine," said the official who asked to remain anonymous.
"Foreign teams working in limited oil sectors in the government-controlled provinces suspended their activities and started thinking about leaving Yemen over the fear that the Houthis would bomb their workplaces and oil facilities with missiles and explosive-laden drones," he added.
Yemeni citizens living in the government-controlled provinces also expressed their anxiety as the Houthi group vowed to bomb the areas controlled by the pro-government forces with missiles and booby-trapped drones.
Earlier in the day, shelling attacks carried out by the Houthi militia targeted residential areas in the country's southern regions just hours after the truce expiry, sparking sporadic fighting with the troops backed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition.
The UN envoy on Sunday indicated that negotiations will continue to renew the UN-brokered truce, and reaffirmed his calls on the parties to maintain calm and refrain from provocations or any actions that could lead to an escalation of violence. "I urge them to fulfill their obligation to the Yemeni people to pursue every avenue for peace," he said in a statement.
Breakthroughs in the past six months of the truce include the resumption of commercial flights to and from the Sanaa airport and the entry of fuel ships into the port of Hodeidah. However, the siege on Taiz city has not been lifted yet.
On April 2, the Yemeni government and the Houthis agreed upon a two-month truce brokered by the United Nations. The truce was later renewed twice through Oct. 2.
Yemen has been mired in a civil war since late 2014 when the Iran-backed Houthi militia seized control of several northern cities and forced the Saudi-backed Yemeni government out of the capital Sanaa.