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Former president's loyalists fired

Yemen's newly appointed president fired several old-regime figures and relatives of the former leader in a major shake-up of the country's military, a move meant to show he was making good on promises of reforms in the wake of his predecessor's ousting.

A statement by President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi said four governors and over a dozen military generals were sacked "to make way for new officials".

The shake-up came against the backdrop of growing concerns that Yemen's former president Ali Abdullah Saleh was using the loyalists to further destabilise the turmoil-wracked country.

The move also came as hundreds of thousands of Yemenis took to the streets demanding that Mr Hadi purge the military of Mr Saleh's relatives.

Among those sacked were some of Mr Saleh's relatives, including his half brother who was the Air Force commander, and his nephew, who headed the presidential guard.

In his more than 30 years as president, Mr Saleh had stacked key security posts with relatives and loyalists.

Mr Hadi also sacked a brother-in-law to Mr Saleh's daughter who had headed a lucrative oil products distribution company, which was seen as an arm of the former president's vast economic wealth.

Mr Saleh had clung to office during last year's uprising against his rule until he eventually signed a US-backed, Gulf-brokered power transfer deal and handed power over to Mr Hadi, his deputy at the time.

The deal allowed Mr Saleh to remain as head of the ruling party and granted him immunity from prosecution in return for leaving the presidency.

In February, Mr Hadi was rubber-stamped as president in a nationwide vote in which he was the only candidate. He vowed to fight al Qaida, which had exploited the country's yearlong turmoil to make substantial gains in the south, and restructure the armed forces, in which Mr Saleh's loyalists and family members held key posts.


From Belfast Telegraph