Skip to main content

Nine killed in clashes outside Yemen ministry in Sanaa

By Hakim Almasmari, for CNN
August 1, 2012 -- Updated 0031 GMT (0831 HKT)
Yemeni president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi removed many officials from the country's security sector.
Yemeni president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi removed many officials from the country's security sector.
  • About 30 people were injured in the fighting, the officials said
  • Ali Abdullah Saleh was forced from his presidency this year
  • Yemen has been besieged with political unrest, tribal uprisings and militant activity

Sanaa, Yemen (CNN) -- Nine people were killed in fierce clashes between gunmen and security forces outside the Interior Ministry in the Yemeni capital of Sanaa on Tuesday, Interior Ministry officials told CNN.

The officials said that gunmen who have been surrounding the Interior Ministry since Monday attempted to storm it early Tuesday. They demanded they be enrolled in Yemen's police force. Most of the gunmen were dressed in security uniforms.

The Interior Ministry says the gunmen worked unofficially with the Yemeni government during the recent political stalemate that led to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh leaving power.

Al-Qaeda in Yemen wants Western recruits
Inside look at Al Qaeda in Yemen
Yemen on brink of hunger catastrophe
Aid groups call for urgent help in Yemen

"These gunmen are not on our records of official government employees. They want to forcibly be enrolled or else threatened chaos," a senior Interior Ministry official told CNN on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to talk to media.

The officials said that 30 others were injured in the continuing clashes and that the fighting is inching closer toward the center of the capital.

Medical officials expect death tolls to increase. "We cannot reach most of the injured from the clashes. Roads are blocked, and clashes are tense," a medical official within the Interior Ministry told CNN.

The Interior Ministry blocked all roads leading to the northern areas of Sanaa.

Residents in the Hasaba neighborhood, where clashes are fiercest, begun evacuating their homes, fearing more violence.

"Similar clashes took place last year, and we lost everything. A bullet went through my home window, so we are leaving. We thought that unrest was part of the past," said Saleh al-Habbari, who lives in Hasaba.

As part of Yemen's security reform strategy, President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi removed many officials from the country's security sector. Among those removed was Mohammed Abdullah al-Qawsi, who was atop of Yemen's police force. Al-Qawsi permitted hundreds to serve unofficially in the police forces.

Yemen's government has been battling tribal uprisings and Islamic militants for some time. There was widespread discontent with Saleh's government.

Saleh was forced from office in February after widespread protests against his 32-year rule. A massive suicide bombing blamed on the Yemen-based affiliate of al Qaeda killed more than 100 government troops in May.

Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
July 25, 2014 -- Updated 2327 GMT (0727 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.