Wednesday, September 21, 2011
Renewed fighting in Sana'a in spite of ceasefire
Update: Artillery fire and shelling rocked Yemen's capital Wednesday despite a truce aimed at ending fighting between rival military units and deadly attacks on anti-regime protesters, witnesses said.The fighting erupted in Achrine Street, whose residents include Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, who had declared the truce late on Tuesday, the witnesses told AFP.The gunfire gained in intensity after it began sporadically, while shells smashed into buildings where snipers had taken up positions, according to the witnesses.
The renewed fighting comes as protesters prepared to bury those killed in the three bloodiest days since mass protests calling for embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign erupted in January. Medics said at least 76 people, mostly unarmed protesters, died and hundreds were wounded since Sunday in the clashes between dissident troops and those loyal to Saleh, during which security forces also used live fire to disperse crowds.
Earlier in the day on Tuesday relative calm returned to Sana'a after a ceasefire was concluded. It was meant to bring to a halt three days of the most cruel bloodshed.that Yemen had sofar seen. The truce between opponents of the Yemeni regime and forces loyal to president Ali Abdullah Sa;leh was negotiated by the vice president Abed Rabu Mansur Hadi and several foreign envoys, including the US and British ambassadors in Sanaa. It came into ffect about 4 pm local time.
Earlier yesterday, street battles between the two sides had intensified, spreading to the home districts of senior government figures and other sensitive areas of the capital. At least nine more protesters were killed yesterday by shells and snipers.
Mortar shells and rockets were fired at the centre of the city where demonstrators have held a sit-in at a protest camp since the uprising began in February.Gunfire also rang out in areas near the home of president h Saleh and the office of his son, Ahmed, who leads the country's Republican Guards. Local media reported that the office was stormed and burnt by former government soldiers but the information was difficult to verify.
Dozens of pickup trucks and cars loaded with families and personal belongings headed out of the city yesterday after a night interrupted by loud explosions that shook neighbourhoods near the protest camp and the headquarters of a military division that defected from the regime to the opposition.
More than 30 were killed in attacks on Monday, mainly by snipers. On Sunday, pro-regime snipers killed at least 27 and injured 342 when tens of thousands of protesters demonstrated in Sanaa.
Yemen's protest movement had stepped up demonstrations in the past week, while president Saleh gave his vice president a mandate to negotiate further on a Gulf-mediated, US-backed deal under which he would step down in return for immunity from prosecution. Saleh in the past has turned down at least three earlier agreements at the very last moment.