Yemen President Saleh`s regime near falling
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh`s 32-year-old iron fisted rule appeared to be tottering on Monday after three army generals, including his longtime confidant, defected, asking him to step down.
Dubai: Yemeni President Ali Abdullah
Saleh`s 32-year-old iron fisted rule appeared to be tottering on Monday after three army generals, including his longtime
confidant, defected, asking him to step down and deployed
tanks and armoured vehicles to protect the protesters.
Maj Gen Ali Mohsen Saleh, who belongs to President`s
influential `Hashid` tribe and is commander of the army`s
powerful 1st Armoured Division, publicly announced his
defection, al Jazeera reported.
Simultaneously with defections in the army, al Jazeera
said the governor of Yemen`s southern province of Aden, Ahmad
Qaatabi, had also joined the protesters.
A confrontation could break out as tanks and armoured
carriers belonging to the elite Republican Guards led by
Saleh`s son and one time heir apparent were deployed outside
the presidential palace on the southern outskirts of the
Along with Mohsen two other key generals and dozens of
high and middle ranking officers also pledged their support
for the protest movement.
Quoting highly placed sources, the Arab news channel
said about "90 per cent of the army had now joined the
Minutes after the general`s announcement, units of his
armoured division, which included tanks, took up positions in
a major square in the capital, Sanaa, where protesters have
been camping out to call for President to step down.
The two others are Mohammed Ali Mohsen and Hameed
al Qusaibi, who both have the rank of brigadier.
All three officers belong to Saleh`s tribe, which also
called on President to resign yesterday, dealing a serious
blow to his desperate attempts to cling on to power.
News of the defections came one day after crowds
flooded cities and towns across Yemen to mourn 52 protesters
killed Friday when Saleh`s security forces opened fire from
rooftops on a demonstration in the Yemeni capital.
Quoting Hakim Al Masmari, editor -in-chief of Yemen
Post, al Jazeera said the defections spell the end for Saleh.
The channel said that dozens of army officers had one
by one announced their decision to quit Saleh`s regime at the
sit-in near Sanaa University.
Welcoming the defections, the opposition leaders
leading the protest march said they would press for formation
of a national emergency government on the pattern of the one
formed in Egypt.