Saturday, August 6, 2011

Yemeni troops, tribal fighters clash in capital

By AHMED AL-HAJ, August 6, 2011

SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Government forces clashed Saturday with supporters of Yemen's most powerful tribe for a second consecutive day in the capital, despite efforts to mediate an end to the fighting.

Heavy gunfire erupted just before sundown in Sanaa's Hassaba district between forces loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and the tribal confederation led by the al-Ahmar clan, witnesses said.

Saleh supporters and fighters loyal to the al-Ahmar clan have been locked in a tense standoff in Sanaa since late May when al-Ahmar's leader sided with protesters calling for Saleh's ouster. That set off a round of fighting in Sanaa's streets that threatened to escalate into all-out war.

The violence Saturday appeared to be a carry-over from brief clashes on Friday, also in the Hassaba neighborhood, where the al-Ahmar residential compound lies.

Three members of the government's elite Republican Guards were wounded Friday, according to a medical official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the media.

An armored vehicle was torched Friday at one of the main district roads, where the Republican Guards have been heavily deployed in recent days.

Airport officials said six planes arriving in Sanaa Friday were diverted to other regional airports apparently because of fear of the fighting in Hassaba, which is on the way to Sanaa international airport.

Also Saturday, Yemen's vice president met with security chiefs to discuss the deteriorating security situation in the country. Vice President Abed Rabo Mansour Hadi is in charge of the country's affairs in the absence of Saleh, who is receiving treatment from wounds he sustained during an attack on the presidential compound in June.

Hadi said all parties will be held responsible for any further deterioration in the security situation, and warned of "dire" consequences, according to the official SABA news agency.

In the southern city of Taiz, a hotbed of anti-Saleh protests, Republic Guards shelled the city's northern suburb, killing one civilian and wounding three more, a medical official in the city hospital said. Residents said the troops have taken over a main street in the city center, and asked them to evacuate the area.

Yemen President Saleh to leave hospital soon-source

RIYADH | Sat Aug 6, 2011

(Reuters) - Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh will soon be discharged from the Saudi hospital where he has been recuperating from wounds suffered in an attack on his palace, but will remain in Riyadh for the time being, a Yemeni government source said on Saturday.

Saleh would be moved to Saudi government accommodation in the capital, the source told Reuters.

Saleh's prime minister, Ali Mohammed Megawar, injured in the same attack, left hospital and moved into similar accommodation earlier on Saturday, the source said.

Saleh was forced to seek treatment in Saudi Arabia last month after the attack on his palace last month capped weeks of fighting with a powerful tribal grouping that left parts of Yemen's capital Sanaa in ruins.

Nearly six months of protests seeking his ouster have brought the Arab world's poorest country to the brink of civil war.

Yemeni army clash with anti-Saleh protesters

The government's elite Republican Guards reportedly clashed with supporters of al-Ahmar tribe in central Sanaa.
Aug 5, 2011

Yemeni government forces have clashed with supporters of the powerful Hashid tribal grouping led by Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar that is demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh leave office.

Loud explosions and gunfire rocked the Al-Hassaba district of Sanaa on Friday. Witnesses said an armoured vehicle of the elite Republican Guard, which is led by Saleh's son, Ahmed, was hit by a projectile and set ablaze.

The fighting erupted late Friday afternoon and lasted about half an hour. Residents reported hearing the crackle of machine-gun fire and a few explosions. There were no immediate casualty figures available.

The troops earlier blocked several roads and erected checkpoints, triggering a similar action by the tribesmen armed with machine guns and rocket-propelled grenades.

Al-Ahmar ended his support to Saleh -- also a member of Hashid -- in March and joined the protests which erupted in January demanding the ouster of the president.

Influential tribal leaders formed last week a coalition headed by al-Ahmar to bolster the uprising against Saleh who has been in a Saudi hospital since June after being wounded in a bomb attack on his Sanaa compound.

Saleh is clinging to power despite being attacked and has vowed to return to Yemen.