Breaking News
Nagaland Post Logo
You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Show story
Street battles in Yemen; 41 dead
Sanaa, JUN 1 (Agencies):
Published on 1 Jun. 2011 10:39 PM IST
Print  Text Size

Yemeni medical officials say at least 41 people have been killed in overnight shelling and street battles between government forces and rival tribal fighters in the capital. Witnesses say that in addition to street fighting, Presidential Guard units shelled the headquarters of a brigade responsible for guarding sensitive government institutions. Army officers who have defected to the opposition say the government suspected the brigade commander was about to join the movement to oust President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
The medical officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals, say the 41 killed Wednesday included fighters from both sides.
The violence pushed Yemen closer to the edge of a civil war. Nearly four months of mass protests calling for democratic reforms and the ouster of longtime President Ali Abdullah Saleh have rocked the stability of this impoverished corner of the Arabian Peninsula, where government control is weak outside the capital Sanaa and an active al-Qaida branch and other militant groups operate.
Saleh has confronted the mass protests calling for his ouster by promising reform and sending security forces — his largest remaining bastion of support — to crack down on protesters. At times, they have unleashed sniper attacks on unarmed marchers.
Saleh has steadfastly refused to step down, clinging to power despite the uprising, defections by key allies and intense pressure from the United States and Yemen’s powerful Gulf neighbors to transfer power.
Four protesters were killed in the southern city of Taiz Tuesday, bringing the city’s two-day death toll to at least 25. Stiff criticism of the government’s crackdown in Taiz came Tuesday from US State Department spokesman Mark Toner. “We condemn those indiscriminate attacks by Yemeni security forces,” he said, urging Saleh to sign an accord to leave office “and to move Yemen forward.”
Tuesday’s violence highlights the security gaps left open as Saleh’s forces work nearly exclusively to keep him in power, said Christopher Bouceck of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
“The more the Yemeni government is focused on this political crisis, the more they’re not paying attention to anything else,” he said. “So the potential for violence and the breakdown of law and order gets bigger and bigger.” The soldiers were ambushed outside the southern town of Zinjibar, which Islamist militants seized over the weekend. Gunmen fired on an army unit approaching the city from the west, forcing them to accelerate into the fire of other militants hiding down the road, a security official said.
The attack killed five soldier and injured 12, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to reporters. The soldiers killed two militants before fleeing.
Hundreds of armed Islamists stormed the town of more than 20,000 people last week, seizing banks and government offices before setting up barricades to solidify their control.
Army units have shelled the town for days, failing to dislodge the militants and while sending hundreds of residents fleeing.
Resident Hilmi Ali said the shells appeared to fall randomly over the town, striking a mosque and four houses in his neighborhood and killing seven of his neighbors.
The Islamists broke into a police administration building and an intelligence office and could be seen speeding about town in police cars, Ali said. Dozens of families fled, braving the gunfights between militants and government forces on the city’s outskirts.

Comments:(0) Login or Register to post your Comment
(Available for registered users only)
More News
  • 1
  • 2