Tuesday, May 24, 2011

At least six dead and 28 wounded in clashes in Sana'a

At least six people were killed and 28 wounded in clashes that erupted on Monday in Sana'a between security forces and armed men guarding the house of tribal leader Sadeq bin Abdullah al-Ahmar, medics said. The sources explained that the fatalities were five gunmen and a civilian. For his part, sources of the security services noted that among the injured several policemen, but did not specify the number.

In the fighting, which erupted in Al Hasbara neighborhood, where the residential complex in which live Sadeq Abdallah bin and several of his brothers, were used Kalashnikovs and mortars. The clashes spread to the headquarters of the ruling General People's Congress, which is in the same sector, state news agency SABA, who was "severely damaged" by fire from gunmen loyal to al-Ahmar, again according to eyewitness accounts.

The shootings have occurred in the midst of great political tension in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian Peninsula since the end of January is to be the scene of political protest against the regime of Ali Abdullah Saleh. It also came hours after President Saleh refused to sign a plan of the Persian Gulf countries for an orderly transfer of the presidency, despite the agreement was signed between the opposition and the ruling party.

Witnesses had described the shooting started in the building that houses the headquarters of the Yemeni airline, next to the house of Al Ahmar, leader of the influential tribe Hasher, which President Saleh belongs. Clashes were also extended near the home of the brother of Al Ahmar, Hamid, a wealthy businessman who is supporting opposition groups in protest against the regime of Saleh.

Sources of the security services said gunmen loyal to al-Ahmar had occupied an academy and a school and added that police had tried to evacuate the buildings. Abdullah bin Hussein al Ahmar, a brother of Sadeq, announced Feb. 26 his resignation from the ruling and appealed to other leaders of the tribe to unite to overthrow the ruler.

"I declare here my resignation from the party in power, and I invite the honorable here to work to overthrow the regime", then the tribal leader said in a message delivered to thousands of people in the city of Amran, north of Sanaa . Abdullah bin Hussein al Ahmar criticized the police crackdown on a protest that had developed the previous day in the southern city of Aden, which resulted in six dead and thirty wounded.

"The blood of the children of Aden is not in vain, and avenge the murderers of their children," said Al Ahmar. Sadeq, Hamid and Hussein are the sons of Abdullah al-Ahmar, a close associate of President Saleh, who died in December 2008. The three brothers living in the same complex capital district of Al Hasbara.

The U.S. embassy in Yemen said Monday the closure to the public of its consular section during the next two days due to "uncertain security situation" prevailing in the country, the embassy said in a statement. The announcement comes in conjunction with an intense firefight that occurred Monday in a suburb of Sanaa where security forces were involved and the particular escort an important tribal leader opposed to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

"Due to the uncertain security situation in the city, the consular section will be closed to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday and only provide emergency services to American citizens," the embassy said in a statement. Also, the embassy also restricted access of its citizens to a particular area of the capital, "due to the release of an armed militia in the area" and asked them to take special measures of concern.

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