Country in conflict: Yemen, gripped in a power struggle, was further shaken by Monday’s blast.
The country is already in turmoil, to say the least, so Monday’s explosion at an ammunition factory in Yemen, which killed more than 100 people, had political ramifications even if the blast itself was accidental, as local sources reported. —KA
The explosion came as talks to broker an end to the 32-year authoritarian rule of President Saleh stalled amid continued warnings that the country was sliding into armed conflict. After weeks of protests against his rule, President Saleh has claimed that if he left power al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) could begin to take hold throughout the country with Yemen a “time bomb” nearing civil war.
The accident yesterday appeared to have been triggered by a lit cigarette, according to local sources, as residents picked over the remains after several dozen armed and hooded men looted the factory and made off with cases of weaponry. The state news agency claimed AQAP was responsible for the blast at the plant, just outside the city of Jaar in the province of Abyan.