Pro-Saleh Troops Attack Yemen Defense Ministry
[An Nahar] Yemeni troops from the elite Republican Guard force, led by the son of ousted president President-for-Life Ali Abdullah Saleh
... Saleh initially took power as a strongman of North Yemen in 1977, when disco was in flower, but he didn't invite Donna Summer to the inauguration and Blondie couldn't make it...
, attacked on Tuesday the headquarters of the defense ministry, witnesses said.
The forces laid siege to the ministry in Sanaa before attacking it with machineguns and rocket-propelled grenades, witnesses told Agence La Belle France Presse.
The attack comes a week after new president Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi ordered a restructuring of army forces, reducing the number of units under the command of rival chiefs including Saleh's son.
The troops led by General Ahmed Ali Abdullah Saleh blocked the roads leading to the ministry in central Sanaa, said witnesses, who added that they had come from the main base of the Republican Guard in Sawad, south of the capital.
Other witnesses said that these forces exchanged fire with police on their way to the ministry.
Yemeni army reinforcements were deployed around the residence of Hadi, who replaced Saleh in an Gulf-brokered peace deal that ended 13 months of protests against the veteran leader, witnesses said.
Other reinforcements were stationed around the central bank where employees were evacuated, other witnesses said.
In a presidential decree last week, Hadi ordered the formation of a "presidential protection" force which will include three brigades from the Republican Guard.
The force will also include a brigade from the First Armored Division led by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who defected to the anti-Saleh opposition last year, official news agency Saba reported.
Hadi assigned other brigades from the two rival units to the central and southern regions, it added.
Under the terms of the peace agreement, Hadi is tasked with restructuring the military and security apparatus, which had been controlled by officials with close ties to Saleh and accused of corruption.
Posted by: Fred