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Yemen's former president released from house arrest

WORLD
By Reuters | February 21st 2015

Sanaa: Yemen's former president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi left his official residence after weeks of house arrest by the Houthi militia on Saturday and flew to his home town of Aden, witnesses and a political source said.

It was not immediately clear if he had been released from house arrest by the Houthis, who besieged his home and the presidential palace last month, leading him to resign, or if he had escaped.

The United Nations, which oversaw a new power-sharing agreement between the Houthis and Yemen's other rival factions on Friday, helped him travel to Aden, a senior political source told Reuters.

Hadi's Sanaa residence was looted by Houthi militiamen after he left, witnesses said, but the former president arrived at his home in the Aden district of Khormaksar, sources told Reuters.

Early on Saturday, Houthi militiamen opened fire on protesters in the central city of Ibb, killing one person and wounding another, activists said.

The crowd had gathered in a square to demonstrate against the Houthis' role in overturning the government last month.

Following the shooting, thousands more people took to the streets in protest. Witnesses said the Houthis were deploying more security forces in response.

Yemen's rival parties agreed on Friday to create a transitional council to help govern the country and allow a government to continue operating with input from other factions after the effective Houthi takeover.

Western countries are worried that unrest in Yemen could create opportunities for Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) to plot more attacks against international targets.

Late on Friday a drone destroyed a car carrying suspected members of AQAP in Shawbwa Province, a bastion of the militant group in the rugged mountains of southern Yemen, killing at least three people, residents said.

The United States has acknowledged it carries out drone strikes against militant targets in Yemen but does not comment on specific attacks. The strikes, which have sometimes killed civilians, have angered many people in the country.

Hadi was seen as a supporter of the use of drone strikes against AQAP.

The car was travelling in the Wadi al-Houta district of Shabwa, the residents said. They saw flames surging out of the vehicle and heard several small explosions coming from it after it was struck.

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