Yemeni dies of wounds from army raid on university

Yemeni dies of wounds from army raid on university
# 10 March 2011 01:03 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A Yemeni man died Wednesday of gunshot wounds after the army raided the university campus in the capital and opened fire on hundreds of anti-government protesters gathered there, a doctor said, APA reports quoting “Associated Press”.
Abdullah al-Jeifi, 24, died and six other protesters who were shot in Tuesday’s raid were in serious condition, said Mohammed al-Abahi, one of the doctors volunteering at the Sanaa University campus.
Yemen has been rocked by weeks of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh, a key U.S. ally in the campaign against al-Qaida who has been in power 32 years. Army troops stormed the campus late on Tuesday, shooting live ammunition, rubber bullets and firing tear gas. About 90 protesters sustained gas inhalation and minor injuries in the raid.
"This aggression is an indication that the regime is collapsing and cannot stand before the youth revolution," said Mohammad Qahtan, a spokesman for the opposition.
Al-Abahi said the army fired live munition directly at the protesters — not in the air — because one of the injured was hit in the head and others in the legs and hands. Witnesses said the mayor of Sanaa, Abdul-Rahman al-Akwa, who is also the brother-in-law of Saleh, led a group involved in the raid.
Even before Yemen was hit by the wave of protests, the country was growing increasingly chaotic with a resurgent al-Qaida, a separatist movement in the south and an off-on Shiite rebellion in the north.
In an attempt to quell escalating protests, the president called for national dialogue after meetings Monday with the country’s top political and security chiefs. The state-run news agency said the conference would be held Thursday and would include thousands of representatives from across Yemen’s political spectrum.
But opposition leader Yassin Said Numan said there would be no dialogue unless Saleh agreed to step down by year’s end.
Saleh’s recent pledge not to run for re-election in 2013 has failed to quell the protests, as have his calls for a unity government with opposition figures.
Human rights groups criticized Yemen’s crackdown on protests.
"These disturbing heavy-handed tactics used with lethal effect against protesters must stop immediately. People must be allowed to assemble and protest in peace," said Philip Luther, Amnesty International’s deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Human Rights Watch issued a report Wednesday saying Yemeni security forces killed at least nine people and injured 150, some of them children, during peaceful protests in the southern city of Aden last month.
"Shooting into crowds is no way to respond to peaceful protests," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch. "Governments in the region and beyond should make clear to Yemen that international assistance comes with the condition of respecting human rights."