Yemeni gunmen kill 1 soldier amid protests

AP News
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Posted: May 15, 2011 5:42 PM
Yemeni gunmen kill 1 soldier amid protests

Gunmen on a motorcycle opened fire on two soldiers in a market in southern Yemen Sunday, killing one and wounding the other as protests against the longtime president escalate.

Yemen's opposition, meanwhile, said it is not ready to accept a new attempt to revive a regional initiative to defuse the crisis if it means giving President Ali Abdullah Saleh more time in office.

Yemen is reeling from three months of protests demanding Saleh step down. He has snubbed a proposal to resign in exchange for immunity from prosecution. Instead he has pressed a crackdown on protesters that has killed more than 150 people.

On Sunday, the gunmen who attacked the soldiers in a market in Abyan province fled the scene, the local official said.

Another official in the same province said a security officer was snatched by unknown gunmen while in a taxi, and his location is unknown.

Both officials were speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.

Meanwhile, demonstrators continued to push their civil disobedience campaign. In the southern city of Taiz, protesters peacefully seized a government building, a police headquarters, and a ruling party office.

As thousands of protesters marched on the government building, witnesses said a senior official decided to shut down the building, ordered the officials to go home and put up a banner reading: "The compound is closed by the people until the fall of the regime."

At the ruling party building, the protesters removed the picture of Saleh and insignia of the party before burning them, Nouh al-Wafi, a protest organizer said.

On Sunday, the secretary general of the Gulf Cooperation Council, Abdul-Latif al-Zayyani, met with opposition figures to revive the proposal sponsored by the council.

Opposition spokesman Mohammed al-Sabri said the initiative is considered "dead" after Saleh refused to sign it. He said the stalling by Saleh is buying him more time to crackdown on the protesters.

"Al-Zayyani and the council are committing a great mistake if they give the man (Saleh) and the rest of his regime space and more time to confront the people and destroy the country's economy and institutions," he said.

"Giving him more time under the pretext of diplomacy only means giving Saleh a regional and international cover to continue his crimes against the Yemeni people."