Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has said he will go to the US and give way to a successor, hours after his forces killed nine people demanding he be tried for killings over ­nearly a year of protests aimed at his ouster.
But Saleh, who agreed to step down last month under a deal cut by his wealthier neighbours who fear civil war in Yemen will affect them, did not say when he would depart and vowed to play a political role again, this time opposed to a new government.
Troops from units led by Saleh’s son and nephew opened fire with guns, tear gas and water cannon against demonstrators who approached his compound in the capital Sana’a after marching for days from the southern city of Taiz, chanting “No to immunity!”
Saleh, speaking to reporters after attacks by his forces on protesters demanding Saleh’s trial for killing demonstrators over 11 months, said he had no designs on staying in power.
“I will go to the United States. Not for treatment, because I’m fine, but to get away from attention, cameras, and allow the unity government to prepare properly for elections,” he said.
“I’ll be there for several days, but I’ll return because I won’t leave my people and comrades who have been steadfast for 11 months,” he said.
“I’ll withdraw from political work and go into the street as part of the opposition.” he said.
Marchers denounced Saleh’s deal agreed last month giving him immunity from ­prosecution in exchange for handing power to his deputy.