Friday, December 9, 2011

Yemen prison riot leaves 2 inmates dead

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press
Friday, December 9, 2011
SANAA, Yemen (AP) --A Yemeni security official says a prison riot in Sanaa has left two inmates dead and three guards injured.
The official says a Friday demonstration by inmates of a prison in the Yemeni capital against poor treatment turned violent, after police tried to disperse the crowd using water cannons and tear gas.
He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media.
Meanwhile, tens of thousands of people took to the streets across the country demanding that outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh be put on trial.
Saleh was guaranteed immunity from prosecution as part of a U.S.-backed deal signed last month, which allows him to step down after 33 years in power.

Rival Yemeni forces quit streets of Taiz, official

Mohammed Ghobari, Reuters December 9, 2011
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemeni forces loyal to outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh and opposition gunmen are withdrawing from the streets of Taiz city, an official said on Friday.
Dozens have been killed in Taiz, Yemen's commercial capital, since Saleh signed a deal last month to give up power. Months of anti-government protests have pushed the impoverished country to the brink of civil war.
The official said a committee set up to restore normality to Taiz was clearing away road blocks set up by Saleh opponents and loyalists during street battles, and overseeing their withdrawal from occupied buildings.
Protesters continue to take to the streets in anger at the opposition parties' endorsement of the power transfer deal, which grants immunity from prosecution to Saleh over the killing of demonstrators by security forces.
Saleh's General People's Congress (GPC) party said it would stop holding pro-government rallies after Friday prayers to show its commitment to a political solution.
"The decision by the party's leadership is a new sign of the GPC's eager desire to act in the higher interest of the nation and to begin ending the political crisis," said a statement from the party that urged opposition parties to do the same.
A member of the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) said it was not for them to call off street protests.
"We in the JMP do not have the authority to cancel protests and sit-ins. It's the youth movement that controls the protesters," the assistant secretary-general of the socialist party told Reuters.
Under the transfer plan negotiated by Yemen's wealthy Gulf neighbours, the GPC and opposition parties divide up cabinet posts between them and form a national unity government to steer the country ahead of a presidential election in February.
The cabinet, which is due to be sworn in on Saturday, faces a host of challenges including a southern separatist movement, a rebellion in the north and a regional wing of al Qaeda that has exploited the upheaval to strengthen its foothold in Yemen.
Neighbouring Saudi Arabia and the United States, both targets of foiled attacks by al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing, fear the global militant network could use a security vacuum to plot and perhaps carry out attacks on the region and beyond.
The interior ministry said it was making arrangements for the United Nations envoy who helped broker the power transfer deal to visit the north and south of the country, where central government control has been severely weakened.
Opposition leader Mohammed Basindwa, who is now prime minister, said his first foreign visit would be to oil-rich Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to ask for urgent support for Yemen's fuel and electricity needs.

Seven die as clashes erupt in northern Yemen

Dec 9, 2011
Sana'a - At least seven people were killed when clashes escalated in northern Yemen between Houthi rebels and Islamists, media reported Friday.
Houthis, a Shiite Muslim minority in Yemen, opened fire on a convoy late Thursday which was said to be carrying food and medicines for besieged Salafists in the area of Dammaj.
The Shiite group reportedly believed the convoy was carrying weapons for their rivals.
At least three Houthis and four Salafists were killed in the clashes, the Yemen Post wrote on its website.
Abdul-Malik al-Houthi, the leader of the Shiite group, said the convoy was intended to provoke confrontations between the two groups.
Authorities in the province have been trying to broker an end to the dispute that has raged intermittently for more than two months. However, repeated clashes have broken short-lived truces in Sa'ada province.
Houthis accuse the Salafists of planning to build military encampments to extend their influence.
The dispute, which began some months ago, has been overshadowed by political tensions gripping the impoverished Arabian Peninsula country since February, over the disputed rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.