Thursday, 22 September 2011

Violent clashes continue in Sana'a despite ceasefire

Violence has once again erupted in Yemen's capital city of Sana'a; just days after Yemen's Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi agreed a truce following negotiations with western envoys who had urged an end to the violence.

It is estimated that at least three people have died while protesting. It is thought that they were hit by sniper fire and shelling, which put an end to the ceasefire. Thousands of people gathered in a protests camp called Change Square in the city centre, for the funerals of those killed in recent days.

It is thought that at least 75 people have been killed in violent clashes since Sunday 18th September.

Anti-government protesters and tribal fighters have promised to continue their demonstrations against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who refuses to step down despite being in Saudi Arabia.

Yemen's state news agency Saba has reported that Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) chief Abdulatif al-Zayani, who arrived in Yemen on Tuesday, has now left the country after failing to reach a resolution about the ongoing crisis.

Speaking to AFP news agency an unnamed military official from the First Armoured Brigade, commanded by dissident Gen Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, said the shelling had targeted their headquarters, based near Change Square.

UN and GCC officials arrived in Yemen in hope of finding a solution to the ongoing crisis but failed to do so. The opposition have accused the government of orchestrating violence to derail any chance of agreement.

Speaking about it, the head of the opposition Yemeni National Council, Mohamed Qubaty, said it was an attempt by the authorities to "dodge" the requirements and the views of the GCC, especially the restructuring of the army and security forces.

The accusations have been continually rebuffed by government officials, who say that the unrest has been incited by Al-Qa'ida militants. The past three days have been the deadliest since demonstrations against Saleh began in January.

Sources: AFP, BBC News, Reuters

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

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