Clashes break truce in south Yemen as gov't officials blame opposition

15:50, June 16, 2011      

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Fierce clashes flared between Yemeni government forces and opposition-backed armed tribesmen in southern province of Taiz late on Wednesday, breaking a fragile truce they agreed two days ago, local councilman told Xinhua.

The rivals traded heavy shootings and mortar shells which rocked downtown Taiz city, the provincial city of Taiz province, about 200 km south of the capital Sanaa.

Meanwhile, the Defense Ministry's website quoted a government official, holding the opposition Joint Meeting Parties (JMPs), which backed protesters' demand of ousting President Ali Abdullah Saleh, responsible for violating the truce.

"The opposition-run armed tribesmen rejected the terms of the ceasefire by refusing to hand over the government buildings they occupied over the past days," the unnamed official said.

Taiz, which barely breathed two days of relative calmness following a tribal-mediated truce, was the scene of deadly clashes between anti-government protesters and government forces since the unrest erupted five months ago, leaving many people killed.

Government officials reaffirmed that President Saleh would return to Sanaa within days and would speak to nation to reassure them of his health.

Source: Xinhua
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