Last updated: 1 August, 2012

Yemen security forces retake interior ministry

Yemen’s security forces have regained control of the interior ministry, a top official announced on Wednesday, a day after fighting in the complex killed 15 people.

“Forces from the central security services intervened to secure the ministry following orders by Interior Minister Abdelqader Qahtan,” the force commander, General Fadl al-Qawsi said, according to Saba state news agency.

He denied earlier claims that members of his force had backed the assailants against ministry guards.

A police official told AFP on Tuesday that the assailants were gunmen backed by members of the central security services loyal to ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

But officials said on Wednesday the attackers were police officers who were demanding unpaid salaries and promised bonuses, a claim the ministry rejects.

The Supreme Security Committee blamed the assault on “a group of inciters among the ranks of the police force aiming to undermine security,” adding that it has formed an inquiry commission.

The cabinet, meanwhile, condemned the attack “and all those behind it, who are seeking to spread chaos in a desperate attempt to undermine the political process in Yemen,” where a year-long uprising forced Saleh to step down in February.

The firefight on Tuesday in Sanaa’s northern Al-Hasaba district also wounded 43 people.

The assailants stormed the ministry on Sunday and held a sit-in before setting a two-day ultimatum for officials to meet their demands.