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Twelve dead after weekend clashes in Raida.

SANA'A, Sept. 23 -- 12 people died in ongoing clashes between Islah militias and demonstrators that began Friday afternoon and ended Sunday in Raida district, Amran governorate, about 50 km north of Sana'a.

Eleven of the dead are Islah militiamen, and one is a demonstrator.

After Friday prayers, demonstrators gathered in Raida to denounce the American-made anti-Islam film mocking Prophet Muhammad. The demonstrators represented different tribes of Amran, according to Mohammed Al-Gahoom, a journalist from Amran.

Al-Gahoom said Islah militiamen started shooting at demonstrators thought to be Houthi loyalists. There were continuous, mutual, ongoing clashes from the afternoon until late into Friday night.

Saturday morning witnessed heavy ongoing clashes that lasted until the night, leaving about six demonstrators and tens of Islah men wounded, he said.

The area can't cope with regular clashes because all residents of Raida district keep their weapons with them at all times, Sheikh Mohammed Al-Gholi, a mediation committee member said.

"Weapons clashes started within two days sporadically, while trying with other sheikhs from other governorates to stop the fighting," he said.

After the clashes began, travel entrances to Raida were closed, so demonstrators were unable to move outside Raida.

"Nobody left their house because of the continuous shooting, and the demonstrators couldn't leave Raida as well," Al-Gholi said.

A number of Amran's sheikhs arrived Saturday to Raida district to try and stop the two-day long clashes. Eventually, with help from the mediation committee, four points were agreed on between the two sides, Al-Gholi said.

Sunday witnessed gunfire again from 8 to 11 a.m. until prominent social leaders arrived to Raida and forced both sides to stop shooting.

Al-Gholi said the four basic agreed upon are to release all the prisoners from both sides, to clear the area from all the fighters, to open all the entrances of Raida and to have a peaceful coexistence and respect of opinion toward others.

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Publication:Yemen Times (Sana'a, Yemen)
Date:Sep 24, 2012
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