Monday, September 19, 2011

Government’ sorrow Over Deaths in Yemen

Sana'a, September 19, 2011

Following unprecedented scenes of violence yesterday in the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, the government which is accused of despicable act of violence against its civilians by the Opposition, is now expressing sorrow over the violence.

"The government of Yemen expresses its sorrow and condemnation for all acts of violence and bloodshed as those happened yesterday in Sanaa," foreign minister Abu Bakr al-Kurbi told the UN Human Rights Council.

"The government will investigate and hold accountable all those who were in charge of these acts," he added.

"It is unfortunate that these events occurred at a time while some solutions for the political crisis started to appear," said the minister.

"The widespread proliferation of weapons in the hands of Yemenis unfortunately makes things more complicated in such circumstances," he added.

It all started yesterday when a march of protesters was allegedly attacked by men belonging to the Central Security Forces. Witnesses reported that the men suddenly opened fire upon them, using water cannons to prevent the men and women present to escape from the scene.

Further Sana’a residents close to the University reported the presence of snipers upon rooftops, adding that heavy artillery was being used against civilians.

Medics reported the death of at least 26 people yesterday, with as much as several hundred casualties. So far today, the Yemen Post could confirm the death of 6 civilians.

Sadly, it seems that most of the casualties being brought in today are children, most of them lying lifeless as they succumbed to their injuries.

The government repeated its dedication towards a political solution to the uprising, saying that it was still willing to discuss the road map to a possible transfer of power.

No words were heard from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia where President Ali Abdullah Saleh is still recovering from his wounds.

Source: Yemen Post

Resurgent violence in Yemen kills nearly 50 in 2 days, protesters storm elite military base

By: Ahmed Al-Haj, The Associated Press


SANAA, Yemen - Thousands of protesters armed with sticks and backed by armed military defectors overran a base of the elite Presidential Guards in Yemen's capital as fighting erupted across much of Sanaa on Monday. The death toll for the worst violence in months rose to nearly 50 in two days of clashes.

The protesters, joined by soldiers from the rebel 1st Armored Division, stormed the base without firing a single shot and seized a large number of firearms, according to witnesses and security officials. The anti-government force used sandbags to erect barricades as they advanced, providing their allied troops with the shelter they needed in case they took fire from inside the base. Republican Guards' troops did not fire at the protesters and eventually fled, leaving their weapons behind.

Violence has flared anew in Yemen in frustration after President Ali Abdullah Saleh dashed hopes raised by the U.S. last week that he was about to relinquish power after 33 years of autocratic rule.

At least 23 were killed on Monday alone, and dozens more wounded.

The fall of the base into protesters' hands is a significant development in the seven-month-old uprising against Saleh, who went to Saudi Arabia for medical treatment after a June attack on his Sanaa compound and has not returned to Yemen since.

It signals what could be the start of a final showdown between the Republican Guards, led by Saleh's son and heir apparent Ahmed, and the soldiers of the 1st Armored Division, another elite outfit that has fought in all of Yemen's wars over the past two decades, and their tribal allies in the capital.

The Republican Guards and the Special Forces, also led by the president's son, have long been thought to be the regime's last line of defence and Monday's events could significantly help the protesters' cause against the regime.

The 1st Armored Division, along with its commander, mutinied and joined the protesters about six months ago, dealing a serious blow to Saleh's efforts to cling on to power in the face of the popular uprising.

"It was unbelievable," said protester Ameen Ali Saleh of storming the base on the west side of a major road that runs through the heart of Sanaa. "We acted like it was us who had the weapons, not the soldiers."

To other protesters, the fall of the base may signal the near-collapse of the regime.

"Now the remainder of the regime will finally crumble," said another protester, Mohammed al-Wasaby. "Our will is more effective than weapons. The soldiers loyal to Saleh just ran away."

Yemen's protest movement has stepped up demonstrations in the past week, angered after Saleh deputized Vice-President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi last week to negotiate further on a Gulf-mediated, U.S.-backed deal under which he would step down in return for immunity from prosecution. Saleh has already backed away three times from signing the deal.

Many believe the move is the latest of many delaying tactics. Saleh has resisted calls to resign.

Monday's killings took to nearly 50 the number of people killed in two days of fighting in Sanaa and elsewhere in the impoverished nation in the southern corner of the Arabian Peninsula. The fighting marked the most serious outbreak of violence in months, as frustration in the streets again builds over the president's refusal to step down.

Security officials and witnesses said hundreds of protesters headed toward the headquarters of the Special Forces in the south of the city. They said the protesters have stopped their advance about 100 metres (yards) short of the complex, but it was not immediately clear whether they planned to later storm it too.

The officials said 20 of the 23 killed on Monday were on Sanaa's central Hayel street. They included a child, a 14-year-old boy and at least three 1st Armored Division soldiers. Mortar shells thought to have been fired by pro-regime forces killed another two people in the capital, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to share the information.

Scores of protesters suffering gunshot wounds were taken to hospitals in Sanaa, according to Mohammed al-Maqtari, a doctor at a field hospital set up by the protesters. The wounded included soldiers from the 1st Armored Division. Witnesses said the soldiers were involved in skirmishes with the Presidential Guards.

Tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in Sanaa Sunday to press demands for Saleh to step down. Pro-regime snipers and forces using anti-aircraft guns killed at least 26 of the protesters.

The regime's use of violence has drawn fresh condemnation from the West.

On Monday, the United States, European Union nations and others on the U.N. Human Rights Council used a meeting of the Geneva-based body to urge Yemen's government to stop using force against peaceful protesters and seek a resolution to the monthslong unrest.

The country's foreign minister, Abubakr al-Qirbi, said the government was committed to political reforms, but rejected claims of excessive force by police and pro-government militia, accusing some opposition groups of terrorist activity.

"We have presented evidence proving that many accusation made against security organization are baseless," al-Qirbi told the meeting on Monday. He also rejected calls for an independent international investigation into the crackdown, saying they were "inconsistent with the recommendations calling for dialogue between Yemeni political parties to solve the crisis."

Washington's envoy to the Human Rights Council, Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe, said the U.S. was concerned at "increasingly disturbing reports about violence" and urged the government to rein in the security forces.

"The United States believes that now is the time for an immediate, peaceful and orderly transition," Donahoe said, adding that those responsible for abuses against civilians needed to be brought to justice as part of a reform process.

The United States once saw Saleh as a key ally in the battle against the dangerous Yemen-based al-Qaida branch, which has taken over parts of southern Yemen under cover of the political turmoil in the country. The U.S. withdrew its support of Saleh as the protests gained strength.

In the southern city of Taiz, at least one protester was killed and 15 others were wounded Monday in clashes between anti-regime demonstrators and security forces, according to witnesses. In the southern port city of Aden, three protesters were wounded in clashes with government forces, witnesses there said.

Source denies seizing control of military camp by Islah militias

SANA'A, Sep. 19 (Saba) - A military source denied Monday that Islah opposition party's militias have seized control of Assam'a military camp in Arahb area of Sana'a province.

Such claims made by Suhail channel are totally untrue and fallacious, the source said.

The militias attempted last July to break into Assama'a camp but they were foiled.

Statement on Violence in Yemen

September 19, 2011

The United States regrets the deaths and injuries of many people during protest marches in Sana’a yesterday. In this tense situation, we call upon all parties to exercise restraint. In particular, we call on the parties to refrain from actions that provoke further violence. We reject actions that undermine productive efforts underway to achieve a political resolution to the current crisis.

The United States continues to support a peaceful and orderly transition in Yemen, one which addresses the Yemeni people’s aspirations for peace and security. We remain hopeful that an agreement will be reached that leads to the signing of the GCC Initiative within one week.

Yemen violence surges as protesters are killed

19 September 2011

Dozens killed as security forces use snipers and rocket-propelled grenades against protesters in Sana'a. The Yemeni authorities must immediately stop the killing of peaceful protesters by security forces, Amnesty International said today following reports that dozens of people have been shot dead in the capital Sana'a since Sunday. Hundreds more are said to have been injured after security forces used snipers and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) against protesters marching to demand the resignation of President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Around 26 people were killed on Sunday.…