Middle East

Tension in Yemen amid coup fears

President Hadi removes heavy weaponry from the capital following fears his predecessor is plotting to topple him.

Last updated: 17 Jun 2014 12:52
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Ali Abdullah Saleh ruled Yemen with an iron fist for more than three decades [Reuters]

Yemen's president has removed heavy artillery from the outskirts of the capital, following fears the former president was plotting a coup.

President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi removed the heavy weaponry stationed on hills surrounding Sanaa on Monday amid reports his predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh was planning to topple him from power.

An army official told the AFP news agency the military had dismantled "heavy artillery and rockets that were positioned on hills around Sanaa following information of a coup plot" by Saleh loyalists who "continue to infiltrate the army".

Heavy weapons had been stationed on the hills around Sanaa to secure the city from an al-Qaeda insurgency, a northern rebellion and a southern separatist movement.

A source close to Hadi told AFP that weapons had been stored at the large Saleh mosque, and were being guarded by gunmen loyal to the former leader.

Saleh, who ruled Yemen for more than three decades, still heads the influential General People's Congress (GPC) party which holds half of the government's ministries and has bitterly divided its members between Hadi and himself.

Also on Monday, clashes between government forces and Shia Houthi rebels killed dozens in northern Yemen, 24 hours after a ceasefire between the two sides collapsed.

Fighting in Jabal al-Dhine, a mountainous region 50km north of the capital Sanaa, left at least three soldiers dead according to AFP, while clashes in Hamdan in Sanaa province killed 12 tribal fighters and 11 Houthis.

The Houthis have been battling the central government for years and are suspected of trying to broaden their sphere of influence as Yemen prepares to split into a federal state of six regions as part of a planned transition to democracy.


Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Topics in this article
Featured on Al Jazeera
At least 25 tax collectors have been killed since 2012 in Mogadishu, a city awash in weapons and abject poverty.
Tokyo government claims its homeless population has hit a record low, but analysts - and the homeless - beg to differ.
3D printers can cheaply construct homes and could soon be deployed to help victims of catastrophe rebuild their lives.
Lack of child protection laws means abandoned and orphaned kids rely heavily on the care of strangers.
Booming global trade in 50-million-year-old amber stones is lucrative, controversial, and extremely dangerous.
Legendary Native-American High Bird was trained in ancient warrior traditions, which he employed in World War II.
Hounded opposition figure says he's hoping for the best at sodomy appeal but prepared to return to prison.
Fears of rising Islamophobia and racial profiling after two soldiers killed in separate incidents.
Group's culture of summary justice is back in Northern Ireland's spotlight after new sexual assault accusations.