Three defected officers killed in Yemen

In Yemen, three defected army officers have been gunned down after attending an anti-regime demonstration in the southern city of Taizz, medics and witnesses say.

“The officers, Abdullah Ali, Ali bin Ali and Kayed Abdulrahman, were gunned down and another soldier was seriously wounded by unidentified gunmen in

Jamal Street near the protesters’ Liberation Square,” Sadiq al-Shuga’a, head of a field hospital in Taizz, told Xinhua. 

Witnesses said that masked gunmen opened fire on the officers on Friday when they were heading home after taking part in the rally calling for prosecution of the country’s dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh. 

Some sources say the attackers, who fled the scene after the firing, were “thugs hired by loyalists of Saleh.” 

Yemenis took to the streets in the capital, Sana’a, Taizz and other main cities following the Friday prayers, stressing that Saleh and his top lieutenants should face justice over the killing of hundreds of demonstrators. 

The demonstrators also rejected the newly formed national unity government over the presence of Saleh’s elements in the new Yemeni cabinet. Yemenis say they want their country to be cleansed of the ruling regime. 

Saleh, who has been in power for 33 years, signed the power transition deal brokered by Persian Gulf Arab states in Saudi Arabia on November 23 and resigned as president and handed authority to his vice Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi in return for amnesty. 

Saleh currently serves as an honorary president until polls are held in February to elect his successor. 

Hundreds of Yemenis have been killed and thousands more wounded in clashes between Saleh forces and revolutionaries since the start of the popular uprising in the impoverished Arab nation in late January. 

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