Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Tribesmen take Yemen news agency

Armed tribesmen guard opposition leader Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar's home in the Yemeni capital, Sana'a, May 24, 2011

Source: Press TV

Anti-government protests in Yemen have reached a turning point, as armed tribesmen take control of the country's state news agency, Saba.

Tribesmen loyal to Yemeni opposition tribal chief Sheikh Sadeq al-Ahmar took over the news agency's building on Wednesday, as fighting in the Yemeni capital of Sana'a resumed, AFP reported.

According to witnesses, the tribesmen have also taken hold of the national airline, Yemenia.

They are reportedly making efforts to take control of the interior ministry headquarters.

Clashes between President Ali Abdullah Saleh's troops and tribesmen loyal to al-Ahmar broke out in Sana'a on Monday.

On Tuesday, Saleh's forces fired rockets into al-Ahmar's house in an effort to quell the intense fight.

At least 49 fighters loyal to the powerful chieftain and 15 government troops were killed in the attack, Xinhua reported.

Since late January, hundreds of thousands of anti-government protesters have been staging anti-Saleh protest rallies across the country on a daily basis.

On Sunday, the [Persian] Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) suspended its effort to mediate in Yemen's political turmoil after President Saleh again refused to sign a deal to step down.

Under the deal offered by the [P]GCC, Saleh would hand power over to his vice president and resign within 30 days in exchange for immunity from prosecution.

Ahmar, who is the leader of the Hashid tribal federation and a former supporter of President Saleh, joined the opposition in March. Saleh himself comes from the Hashid tribe.

Ahmar accused Saleh of trying to spark a "civil war" in an attempt to remain in power.

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