At least 17 people have been killed and dozens others injured in clashes between Yemeni forces and gunmen loyal to ousted Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, officials say. The clashes broke out on Tuesday morning after troops from the defected First Armored Division and armed tribesmen loyal to opposition tribal leader Sadiq al-Ahmar attacked the Yemeni Interior Ministry building in Sana’a, Xinhua reported. "A total of 11 soldiers' bodies have been brought to the police hospital and dozens of others were receiving treatment," medical sources said. "The security forces arrested 28 soldiers of the defected army who were dressed in security force uniforms and found six bodies of the defected soldiers inside the Interior Ministry building… The central security forces have taken control of the ministry building after dozens of defected soldiers fled the scene," the Interior Ministry said.
This is the tribesmen’s second attempt to seize the Interior Ministry building in three days.On Sunday, Saleh loyalists took a number of the ministry staff hostage, but they released them shortly afterwards.
Tuesday’s incident was the heaviest fighting in the capital since Saleh relinquished power.Saleh formally stepped down and handed over power to then Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in February 2012. The power transfer occurred under a Saudi-backed deal brokered by the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council in April 2011 and signed by Saleh in Riyadh on November 23, 2011. Yemen is the Arab world’s poorest country. Forty percent of the people of Yemen are living on two US dollars a day or less and one third are wrestling with chronic hunger. About 31.5 percent of the population is “food insecure” and around 12 percent of the Yemeni people are “severely food insecure,” according to the United Nations. MHB/AS/HGL