Celebrations Mark Departure of Yemen’s President

Posted June 5th, 2011 at 11:20 am (UTC-5)
Leave a comment

There were celebrations in Yemen's capital, Sana'a, on Sunday, after word spread that embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh had left the country.

Mr. Saleh was wounded in Friday's rocket attack on the presidential compound. He and several high-ranking officials were flown to Saudi Arabia Saturday for medical treatment. There is no official word on his condition although reports say he is undergoing surgery for his wounds.

In Sana'a, people danced and sang, declaring “victory.” But there also were expressions of concern about whether Mr. Saleh's 33 years in power have come to an end or whether he will be returning to Yemen.

Under Yemen's constitution, Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi takes over. He has conferred with the U.S. ambassador . He also has met with military commanders, including several members of Mr. Saleh's family.

The president's departure has not ended the violence. In Taiz, gunmen attacked the presidential compound, killing four soldiers.

On Saturday, Yemeni government officials and rebel tribesmen agreed to a new cease-fire brokered by Saudi Arabia. But just a week ago, a similar truce quickly collapsed in renewed fighting between President Saleh's forces and loyalists to an opposition tribal leader, Sheikh Sadiq al-Ahmar.

Nearly 400 people have been killed since the popular uprising against Mr. Saleh began in January.