Three civilians shot dead in Sanaa despite truce


Artillery fire and shelling rocked Yemen’s capital despite a truce aimed at ending fighting between rival military units and deadly attacks on anti-regime protesters as three civilians were killed on Wednesday when they were caught in the crossfire in fighting between rival army units in the Yemeni capital, medics said.
“Three civilians were killed and 25 were wounded,” a medical official at a field hospital in Sanaa’s Change Square told AFP.
Witnesses reported fresh clashes in several areas across the capital, less than 24 hours after a truce was declared. The renewed fighting comes as protesters prepared to bury those killed in the three bloodiest days since mass protests calling for embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh to resign erupted in January. Earlier, Republican Guard troops commanded by Saleh’s son Ahmed shelled posts held by troops of the First Armoured Brigade loyal to dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar around Change Square, epicentre of the protests, witnesses said. Most of the casualties, however occurred when Saleh’s forcers fired on tens of thousands of protesters as they moved from Change Square, where they have been encamped since February, further into the heart of the capital, according to witnesses and medics. A military official from the First Armoured Brigade, commanded by dissident General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar said the shelling had targeted the brigade’s headquarters near Sanaa’s Change Square, the epicentre of protests.
The northern part of the square was also shelled, the official said, adding that details of casualties were not immediately available. Seventy-nine people have been killed in the violence over the past four days alone, according to witnesses. The fighting had died down on Tuesday night after the defence ministry said Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi had given “strict orders for a rapid ceasefire in the capital and that government forces were obeying.” The truce however lay in tatters on Wednesday as fighting spread across several parts of the capital.
It was not immediately clear what sparked Wednesday’s clashes nor was there any word on any casualties. Protesters meanwhile have called for a “mass” funeral procession later Wednesday to honour their dead, setting the stage for further confrontations.
In a statement released by the Youth Revolutionary Organisation, the group said the procession would begin just after noon prayers and follow the path from the mosque to a cemetery near Change Square.