Attack on Yemen PM's convoy

2013-09-01 14:48

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Sanaa - President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi insisted that a shooting that targeted the prime minister's convoy was an "isolated act", Yemen's official Saba news agency reported on Sunday.

Prime Minister Mohamed Basindawa escaped unharmed as gunmen opened fire at his convoy in the capital Sanaa on Saturday in an attack that left no casualties, a security source said.

Basindawa has headed a national unity government since December 2011, under a transition agreement paving the way for president Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster.

"Opening fire at the prime minister's convoy is an individual, isolated, unacceptable and condemned criminal act which will be dealt with firmly," Hadi said, quoted by Saba.

According to security officials, al-Qaeda, accused of having assassinated members of Yemen's security forces in addition to several failed attempts to kill the defence minister, was not linked to Saturday's attack.

Basindawa was travelling in an armoured car when the four gunmen in a four-wheel drive opened fire before fleeing, the security source said Saturday.

It was the first such attack to target the premier, who was a leading opposition figure under Saleh.

Apart from the al-Qaeda threat, Yemen is also caught in a power struggle with southern separatists and faces a rebellion in the mostly-Shi'ite populated north.

The government on 21 August apologised to both southern separatists and northern rebels for wars against them, as part of efforts to encourage national dialogue aimed at drafting a new constitution and holding elections.

Yemen is the ancestral home of al-Qaeda's late founder Osama bin Laden and the home base of the militant faction's local front group, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

AQAP militants took advantage of a decline in central government control during a 2011 popular uprising that forced Saleh from power, and seized large swathes of territory across the south.

But the army expelled them from these areas in June 2012 and they have been increasingly weakened mainly due to US drone attacks, although they still carry out hit-and-run attacks on security forces.

Read more on:    yemen

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