SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Yemen's president on Wednesday ordered a cabinet reshuffle to replace ministers for oil, electricity and four other portfolios after several days of power outages and fuel shortages, the state news agency reported.
It is the second cabinet reshuffle since the election of Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi in 2012 after a yearlong uprising ended the rule of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Saleh left power under a deal that gave him immunity from prosecution and split the number of cabinet posts equally between his party and the opposition.
Attacks on power lines and trucks carrying fuel to the capital have left residents across the country without electricity and fuel in recent days.
Yemen is the Arab world's most impoverished nation, and has been grappling with a decade-long al-Qaida insurgency, as well as tribal and sectarian conflicts.
The government has repeatedly accused Saleh loyalists of orchestrating the attacks on power lines to disrupt daily life following his ouster.
On Wednesday the government ordered the closure of a Saleh-financed TV network, Yemen Today, accusing it of inciting protests, a government official and a network official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.
Scattered demonstrations in which men fired guns into the air were seen across the capital, with demonstrators blocking streets and burning tires, witnesses said.
A Defense Ministry statement meanwhile said soldiers had foiled a "big terrorist attack" against government buildings in the southern Shabwa province.
The statement said security forces had captured two would-be suicide bombers who were connected to explosives in their cars, which were also carrying missiles and mortar shells. It did not provide further details on how the would-be attackers were intercepted.
It said soldiers opened fire on a third car carrying suspected al-Qaida militants, killing three armed men and destroying the vehicle.
The Yemeni military in recent weeks has launched a wide offensive in the south aimed at driving al-Qaida militants from their strongholds. Dozens have been killed, wounded and arrested in the fighting.