Yemeni Militants Seize Weapons Factory

Security degenerates as president battles protesters in capital
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 27, 2011 10:22 AM CDT
Yemen Protests: Islamist Militants Seize Weapons Factory as Security Degenerates
Map locates Abyan province, Yemen   (Associated Press)

Islamic militants seized control of a weapons factory, a strategic mountain, and a nearby town in the southern Yemen province of Abyan today, as a political stalemate over the fate of President Ali Abdullah Saleh in the capital causes security to unravel around the country. Saleh's fate is of deep concern to the US as he is a key ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, but with his attention on massive anti-government protests in the capital, security has declined in the provinces.

Residents of the southern Abyan province said police reduced their presence in towns weeks ago. Elsewhere, residents have pushed out police and soldiers and set up their own local militias for self defense. Saleh has been on the verge of stepping down several times, but today is refusing, saying it would draw the country into a long civil war. "Yemen is a ticking bomb and if the political system collapses and there's no constructive dialogue there will be a long civil war that will be difficult to end," he said. (More Yemen stories.)

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