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Yemen Tribal Loyalists Say Cease-Fire in Effect

VOA News May 27, 2011

Opposition tribal leaders in Yemen say they are talking with the government and that a cease-fire is in effect, temporarily halting most of the fighting with security forces that has raged for days.

The announcement late Friday came after rebels seized control of a government Republican Guards military camp outside of Sana'a and killed the camp's commander.

The tribesmen say at least six opposition fighters were also killed in clashes with military forces. News agencies quote other tribal sources as saying Yemeni military jets bombed the site after it was seized.

The clashes took place as thousands of anti-government protesters across Yemen took to the streets, where they called for an end to President Ali Abdullah Saleh's rule.

Reuters news says some opposition protesters in Sana'a released white doves and carried the coffins of people killed in recent unrest while government loyalists held their own demonstration at a few kilometers away.

Yemeni security forces have been battling loyalists to Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar, the leader of the Hashid tribe. The battles have become the most serious threat to President Saleh's grasp on power after three months of opposition protests.

Witnesses and activists say nearly 100 people have been killed in clashes between the two sides this week.

Also, tribal fighters loyal to Sheikh Abdul Majid al-Zindani - who is allied with the Al-Ahmar family and faces U.S. sanctions as a terrorist financier - have been fighting pro-government forces.

In a separate development, India announced Friday that it is advising all of its nationals in Yemen to leave. The foreign ministry cited the escalating violence. About 11,000 people from India live in Yemen.

Saleh has refused to leave power after nearly 33 years of authoritarian rule.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.



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