Sun Sep 11, 2011
Yemeni security forces have attacked dissident troops loyal to an army general who defected to join anti-government protesters in the capital Sana’a, says an officer.
“They fired four tank shells at one of our positions,” AFP quoted a dissident officer saying on condition of anonymity on Sunday.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
The officer, who is loyal to General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar, said the artillery fire aimed to increase tensions ahead of a meeting of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council ([P]GCC) in the Saudi port city of Jeddah on Sunday.
The meeting of the six-nation Persian Gulf bloc was expected to address the critical situation in Yemen.
The stalemate in Yemen has raised fears of a military confrontation between the security forces and troops loyal to Ahmar.
The security forces have deployed tanks and missile launchers on the hills overlooking Sana’a to reinforce their presence in the capital.
The opposition in Yemen says it will not agree with any deal unless Ali Abdullah Saleh would hand over power immediately and the issue of granting him immunity from prosecution is excluded.
On Saturday, Yemenis staged a protest rally in the southern city of Taizz to demand an end to what they described as the military rule of Saleh’s regime. The protesters called on the army and all remnants of the regime to leave power.
Saleh still remains in Saudi Arabia, where he fled to for medical treatment following a rocket attack on the Yemeni presidential palace in Sana’a on June 3.
Hundreds of Yemeni protesters have been killed in the regime’s brutal crackdown on demonstrations since the start of the popular uprising in late January.