Dozens killed in battle at Yemen Army camp

Yemeni tribesmen attacked an Army camp near the capital Sana’a, sparking clashes.

Updated: Jul 29, 2011, 09:05 AM IST

Sana’a: Yemeni tribesmen attacked an Army camp near the capital Sana’a on Thursday sparking clashes in which dozens on both sides were killed or wounded, the military and tribesmen said.

"Armed groups of hundreds" attacked an Army post in Samaa, 40 kilometres (25 miles) northeast of Sana’a, the Defence Ministry news website, 26sep.net, quoted a military official as saying.

A group of "criminal elements" infiltrated the camp while another group "shelled it, using various weapons”, killing or wounding several soldiers, said the official.

The Army responded "and both sides clashed fiercely ... bringing massive losses" upon the attackers, said the official.

Tribal sources confirmed casualties, saying that "dozens were killed and wounded" from both sides.

The Army called in air support against the tribesmen who took over part of a camp held by Republican Guard troops, loyal to embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh, the tribal sources said.

No specific tolls were immediately available.

Deputy Information Minister Abdo al-Janadi accused Mansur al-Hanaq, a former member of the influential opposition Islamist Al-Islah (Reform) party, of being behind the attack.

The military official said "these armed criminal elements aimed to control the Samaa camp in an attempt to take over Sana’a International airport as part of their plan to overthrow the constitutional legitimacy and seize power by force," 26sep.net said.

Meanwhile, in the flashpoint city of Taez, south of Sana’a, a brief ceasefire between pro-opposition armed tribesmen and the police collapsed and clashes resumed on Thursday.

Witnesses said tribesmen shot dead one policeman and wounded another.

Tribesmen, who say their aim is to protect protesters who demand Saleh stand down, have battled security forces loyal to Saleh in Taez since June.

And in another development, an alleged al Qaeda militant was killed and another captured by tribal forces in the southern province of Abyan, a tribal leader said.

"Firas Taiman ... was killed when he tried to force his way through a checkpoint set up by men from our tribe in Shaqra," a village 60 kilometres (36 miles) from the Abyan capital of Zinjibar, said Mohammed Sakin.

Checkpoints had been set up around the village to prevent al Qaeda elements from returning after being driven out last week.

Bureau Report