Dubai, March 29, 2011
Yemen's political crisis deepened on Tuesday as President Ali Abdullah Saleh refused to step down in the face of mounting desertions by his supporters and officials said the government had lost control of six of the country's 18 provinces. Saleh told a meeting today that he would not step down as 95% of the Yemenis backed his call for a unified Yemen and instead it should be his opponents, who should leave the country, Al Arabia channel reported.
The President's refusal comes as the death toll in the massive blast and fire at an ammunition plant in south Yemen shot up to 150 and transition of power talks remained stalled.
"95 bodies have been identified and many others were burnt beyond recognition," Mohsin Salem, a local government official in the Abyan province said, adding that the province where the incident had happened has been seized by the al Qaeda cadres.
Yemeni official said, in recent days government forces has abandoned their force across the country, including areas where northern rebels have challenged the military and southern provinces where al Qaeda's Arabian branch has maintained sanctuaries.
The collapse of the authority was acknowledged by the President himself, who told a committee from his political party that "six of the Yemen's 18 provinces had fallen".
Saleh said the country was being ripped apart as he hardened his public stance declaring he would make no more concessions.
The Yemeni strongman, who has been in power for the last 32 years has moved away from a dialogue with opposition mediated by American diplomats and Saudi Arabia.
The opposition parties today released a statement saying that the ammunition factory blast had occurred as Saleh had withdrawn his military and security and allowed al Qaeda armed groups to take over.
The President has also been rebuffed by his long time ally Saudi Arabia and Riyadh has turned down his SoS to send troops to Yemen on the pattern of Bahrain.
Source: Press Trust Of India