Gunmen kill nine in Yemen
Anti-government protestors, shout slogans during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, in Sana'a,Yemen, Wednesday, May 4, 2011.
Unknown gunmen have attacked a Yemeni military patrol, killing five soldiers and four civilians in the ensuing fire fight in the city of Zinjibar in the southern province of Abyan, eyewitnesses say.
On Wednesday, gunmen believed to be Al-Qaeda members fired rocket propelled grenades (RPGs) at military vehicles in a busy marketplace, ripping one of them apart and killing four soldiers, AP quoted witnesses as saying.
Another soldier was killed in the second patrol car. The four civilians in the vicinity were killed by gunfire, the witnesses said. At least 20 others were also injured.
Other panicked surviving soldiers started firing randomly in the air, and were joined by other soldiers rushing to the scene.
Military officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said they were not sure who the assailants were.
The impoverished country is also wrecked by protesters who are demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has ruled the country for the past 32 years.
On Wednesday, tens of thousands gathered in Yemen's main cities, as they have for the past months to reiterate their demands that Saleh step down.
The Persian Gulf Arab states continue efforts to broker an end to months of bloodshed in the country, but to no avail as Saleh has spurned mediation efforts that would have had him step down in return for political immunity.
The death toll in the country has surpassed 300 since the anti-government protests began in late January.