Sana'a, December 21, 2011- Four Russian citizens have been killed in Yemen. Armed clashes between the government troops and the opposition continue in this country for months. The unrest started in February, when opposition activists demanded former President Ali Saleh should be put on trial.
Foreign Ministry has officially confirmed the news about the death of four Russian citizens in Yemen. The Russians arrived in the country for religious purposes. The group was rather large: there were tens of people in it.
The group of Russian citizens is staying in Yemen's Saadah province. The people study at Dar al-Hadith religious center, in the town of Dammaj. According to the information from the Russian embassy in Sanaa, there are 36 people in the group. They are students and their family members, including children. The students arrived in Yemen illegally, bypassing the rules of departure from the Russian Federation. They maintained no contacts either with the Russian embassy or the Consulate Office," the message posted on the official website of the Foreign Ministry said.
The town of Dammaj found itself in the area of combat actions between the government troops and the gunmen of al-Husi, a Shiite tribal confederation. Local Sunni fundamentalists also struggle against the Shiite radicals. They own the religious center, where the above-mentioned Russians study. For the time being, the deaths of approximately 60 Sunni radicals have been confirmed. The Russian citizens were among them.
"The Russian Embassy continues to establish contacts with representatives of Yemeni authorities to identify the fates of the Russian citizens and provide assistance to them in leaving the troubled zone. The administrations of the ministries for foreign and internal affairs of Yemen have taken the question under control. We are also in contact with the International Red Cross Committee in this country - the organization has humanitarian access to various districts of Saadah province.
Diplomats previously warned Russian citizens against tours to Yemen. "The Foreign Ministry would like to remind Russian citizens that we strongly recommend not to visit this country," RIA Novosti quoted Alexander Lukashevich, an official spokesman for the ministry, as saying.
The combat activity started in Yemen in the forefront of the "Arab spring" in the beginning of 2011. Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down on November 23, after 30 years of rule. It was then said that Saleh would travel to the USA for medical treatment. However, the former leader has not received the permission from the US authorities for that. The USA reportedly denied Saleh the visa in the beginning of December, although it was then said that the question had not been discussed yet.
Sources at the US State Department say that the ex-president of Yemen will most likely receive the visa. Afterwards, after the course of medical treatment in the States, Ali Saleh will be able to move to Germany, Yemen Fox said with reference to Akhbar-Al-Yom.
Nowadays, Yemen is ruled by the interim government under the chairmanship of the new Prime Minister, Mohammed Basindwa. Basindwa headed the Foreign Ministry of Yemen during the 1990s.
Russia welcomed the establishment of the new government of Yemen, which was supposed to conduct the general elections in Yemen on February 21, 2012.