Yemen: dozens killed as clashes rock capital

Five days of armed clashes in the Yemeni capital Sanaa have left over 100 dead and hundreds more injured. Gunmen loyal to tribal chief Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar and defected soldiers under Gen. Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar are using shells and rifle fire against a camp that has been set up in the city by the Republican Guards, the country’s elite troops led by President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s elder son Ahmed Ali. Numerous civilians have been killed in the crossfire. Student protesters continue to occupy University Square—which they have dubbed “Change Square”—and have also come under mortar and sniper fire. (The Economist, Sept. 24; Xinhua, Sept. 23; AFP, Sept. 22; Yemen Post, Sept. 20)

See our last post on the struggle in Yemen.

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  1. Saleh returns to Yemen; cut loose by White House?
    President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned to Yemen after a three-month convalescence in Saudi Arabia on Sept. 23. He called for a ceasefire in the clashes still shaking Yemen’s capital—but the White House for the first time demanded he relinquish power. White House spokesman Jay Carney said: “We urge President Saleh to initiate a full transfer of power and arrange for presidential elections to be held before the end of then year. The Yemeni people have suffered enough and deserve a path toward a better future.” (Reuters, Sept. 23)

  2. UN Security Council urges end to Yemen violence
    The UN Security CouncilSept. 25 called on Yemen to end ongoing violence related to attacks on unarmed protestors and urged the nation to comply with international law. Ambassador Nawaf Salam of Lebanon, on behalf of the 15 Security Council member nations, advised Yemen officials to proceed with “an inclusive, orderly and Yemeni-led process of political transition” that adheres to an initiative supported by the Gulf Cooperation Council. The member nations expressed their concern for the decline in economic and humanitarian stability in the country. The council also indicated that threats from al-Qaeda in parts of Yemen have contributed to the country’s “worsening security situation.” The announcement comes in response to recent violence that has resulted in the deaths of at least 49 people since Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh returned from a three month absence. (Jurist, Sept. 25)

  3. Yemen: armed forces bomb themselves
    A government warplane “mistakenly” bombed an army position in southern Yemen’s Abyan province Oct. 1, killing at least 30 soldiers and wounding many more. The raid apparently targeted an abandoned school used as shelter by soldiers of the army’s 119th Brigade. The school is located just east of Abyan’s provincial capital Zinjibar, which was seized by militants “linked to al-Qaeda” in May. (SANA, Oct. 3)