Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, March 2011
110 Yemenis Killed in Abyan Blast, Protests Continue, Dictator Saleh Still Clings to Power
March 28, 2011
Scores dead as blast rips through explosives factory
France 24, By News Wires (text)
AP - 28/03/2011
Women and children were among at least 110 people killed when a blast ripped through an explosives factory in Yemen's southern Abyan province Monday, according to officials. At least 27 people were critically wounded in the explosion.
Yemen officials say 78 people were killed in a blast at an explosives factory after it was briefly taken over by militants and then looted by civilians.
Medical and security officials in the southern Abyan province where the blast took place Monday said many women and children from surrounding villages were killed and wounded in the attack.
On Sunday, Islamic fundamentalist militants took over the factory, which was near the town of Jaar and used to make explosives for road construction.
The militants took what they needed and then left. Locals then entered the facility to loot it, said officials.
Another 27 people were injured critically in addition to the dozens of others wounded.
Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.
Death toll in Yemen ammunition factory blast rises to 70
SANAA, March 28, 2011 (Xinhua) --
The death toll from an ammunition factory blast in Yemen's southern province of Abyan on Monday rose to at least 70, including three children, as dozens were still in critical condition, local police official and medics said.
Official Saba news agency quoted unnamed security sources as saying that al-Qaida militants were responsible for the deadly explosion.
The blast took place on Monday morning in Al-Hisn area in Abyan 's town of Jaar. The factory was seized on Sunday by suspected al- Qaida militants after police and military withdrew from the town following fierce clashes between the two sides.
The police official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that al-Qaida militants trapped the factory with time bombs after they looted the plant's equipment and ammunition.
"The terrorist group trapped the plant and withdrew as they thought that the security forces would try to regain control over the plant, but the local residents stormed the factory to loot what have been left," the official said.
The police official also said that a large quantity of gunpowder were taken away by al-Qaida militants, while a witness said about 650 kg of copper for making ammunition have also been seized by al-Qaida group.
The witness told Xinhua that the huge blast might be triggered by a cigarette lit by a resident who stormed the plant on Monday.
Doctors at local Al-Razi hospital told Xinhua that some of the injured people were in critical condition.
Abyan is the stronghold of resurgent al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) which have been carried out almost daily operations and string of attacks against the Yemeni security and military personnel, leaving dozens killed since 2009.
Police sources in Abyan have confirmed that the AQAP has taken control of several districts and towns in the southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa as the security authorities were busy in protecting weeks-long anti-government protests demanding President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign.
Yemeni president sacks defected military commander
SANAA, March 28, 2011 (Xinhua) --
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh Monday appointed Major General Ahmed Saeed bin Brik as the new commander of the Eastern Military Area and the Brigade 27 Mika, to replace Major General Mohamed Ali Mohsen, who declared he was joining in protest movements, the Defence Ministry said.
Saleh, who has been facing weeks-long youth-led street protests demanding an immediate end to his 33-year rule, also appointed Colonel Hussein Mshaba as the commander of 15 Infantry Brigade in the northern troubled province of Amran to replace another defected commander.
Saleh's decision came days after both former commanders defected from the government to join the opposition-led demonstration in protest against March 18 shootings that killed 52 protesters outside Sanaa University in the capital.
The two commanders announced defection together with President Saleh's half brother, Major General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, the commander of the Northwest Military Area, also known as 1st Armored Division, to join the protesters.
Al-Ahmar also vowed in a video-tape statement to protect the protesters and demand Saleh to immediately step down in order to avoid the country further bloodshed.
The March 18 shooting and al-Ahmar's defection drew more support from senior government officials, diplomats, security and army officers for anti-Saleh protests.
The official Saba news agency on Sunday quoted Saleh as saying that "if a military mutiny takes place, then a war would be launched in order to regain control over the country."
Saleh admitted that he has already lost control over five provinces, which were led by defected commanders while al-Qaida militants seized four towns and a weapon factory in southern provinces of Abyan and Shabwa.
Meanwhile, a provincial tribal chieftain told Xinhua on Monday that dozens of Muslim extremist militants have been surrounding a camp of the Republican Guards in the district of Arhab, some 30 km north of the capital of Sanaa. ( A senior official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua on condition of anonymity that authorities are preparing to launch air raids against those militants in Arhab.
Editor: Yang Lina
Yemen's ruling party affirms president to stay till 2013
SANAA, March 27, 2011 (Xinhua) --
Yemen's ruling party on Sunday affirmed that President Ali Abdullah Saleh will stay until his presidential term expires in 2013, the Defense Ministry said through its mobile service.
It said the fresh decision came in a statement by the ruling General People's Congress (GPC) following a meeting with the president on Sunday, during which they discussed the ongoing political crisis.
Tariq al-Shami, a spokesman of the GPC, told Xinhua the meeting also decided to renew calls for the opposition to resume the dialogue for the sake of the country.
Saleh has been facing escalating protests since mid February which demanded the end to his long time rule.
There was no immediate comment from the opposition.
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