Yemen Militants Capture Coastal City
A coastal city deserted by Yemeni security forces is now under full control of Islamist militants, according to residents and security officials, as a tense ceasefire prevails in the capital between a powerful rebel tribe and the president's troops.
Critics accused President Ali Abdullah Saleh of allowing militants to seize Zinjibar to distract from four months of protests calling for an end to his 33-year rule. Saleh has warned that without him, al-Qaida would thrive in Yemen.
After a fleeting clash with security forces, Zanjibar, a strategic city of 20,000 people in the largely ungoverned province of Abyan, was abandoned to a militia of about 200 men who had arrived the previous morning firing Kalashnikovs from the back of pick-up trucks, according to resident Mahmoud al-Sarbi.
"Zanjibar is like a ghost town, apart from gunmen roaming the streets and a few residents still barricaded in their homes. It's empty," he said from the nearby port of Aden after fleeing with his family.