Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Arms factory death toll rises

Reports have emerged that the death toll from the arms factory explosion in the southern town of Jaar has more than double from 70 to 150 people. The incident has caused an outcry of anger from the locals, who have accused the Yemeni government of staging the blasts and blaming them of the Al-Qa'ida in a bid to gain sympathy from the international community.

The death toll is based on the number of bodies found among the rubble, and the people reported missing. A local official said some bodies were burned beyond recognition. The blasts occurred while locals were searching for ammunition left behind by suspected Al-Qa'ida militants who had reportedly raided the factory on Sunday 27th March.

News of the explosion quickly spread across the country, prompting hundreds of people to take to the streets in Aden. A statement released by the opposition group Joint Meeting Parties (JMP) accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh and his cronies of plotting with the al-Qa'ida “in a desperate attempt…to prove that he was right when he said that Yemen is a ticking time bomb, that he is the only one who can prevent it from blowing up".

Inspired by the “Jasmine Revolution” in Tunisia, Yemeni people took to the streets in protest to poor living conditions and unemployment but are now demanding that Saleh step-down immediately, saying his power is a danger to the country and its people.

Sources: BBC News, Dawn, Kyiv Post

For more news and expert analysis about Yemen, please see Yemen Focus.

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