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It is army vs prez guards in Yemen

world Updated: Mar 25, 2011 01:41 IST

Reuters
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Presidential guards loyal to Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh clashed in the town of Mukalla on Thursday with army units backing opposition groups who are demanding his ouster. The clash wounded one person and highlighted the tension in Yemen, where top generals, diplomats and tribal chiefs defected this week to the side of democracy protesters who have been camped out in central Sanaa for some six weeks.

Army and presidential guards - a force headed by Saleh's son Ahmed - clashed earlier this week in Mukalla, a coastal city in the Hadramout region, leaving one dead on each side.

Saleh and opposition groups have both made proposals for reform. On Wednesday, Saleh offered new presidential elections by January 2012 instead of when his term ends in September 2013. Saleh, in power since 1978, made the offer in a letter sent to the opposition.

Opposition parties said on Thursday they were tired of the drip-feed of concessions. "This talk is aimed at delaying the announcement of the death of the regime...," said spokesperson Mohammed al-Sabry.

Responding to the protests Saleh warned against a "coup" that would lead to civil war.