SANAA, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- The Yemeni national military committee, which was assigned to end clashes and restore order to the cities after months-long unrest in line with a power transfer deal, began Saturday to remove the roadblocks and checkpoints in the capital Sanaa, officials said.
"The Military Affairs Committee headed by Vice President Abd- Rabbu Mansour Hadi began this morning to remove barricades and checkpoints of forces loyal to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the defected First Armored Division in 60th Street in western Sanaa," a security official told Xinhua.
The rival forces were ordered to return to their barracks within the next few hours, the official said on condition of anonymity. He added that "the process is running smoothly until now."
The removal process came hours after heavy clashes took place in Hassaba district in downtown Sanaa between forces loyal to Saleh and the defected army-backed opposition militia, which left two policemen guarding the headquarters of the Interior ministry dead.
On Wednesday, Vice President Hadi ordered the government forces and the opposition militants to withdraw from Sanaa's streets as of Saturday and to restore order in a week, according to Gulf Cooperation Council-brokered power-transfer initiative, official SABA news agency reported.
On Nov. 23, Saleh's party General People's Congress and the opposition Joint Meeting Parties signed the GCC deal in the Saudi capital of Riyadh in an attempt to end the crisis.
Under the deal, early presidential elections in Yemen are slated for Feb. 21, 2012, while Saleh retains the title of honorary president for 90 days before his resignation and is granted immunity from prosecution.