Yemen military drafting 100,000 soldier to secure February elections

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CAIRO — Yemen plans to deploy its Russian-equipped military to
secure national elections in February.

The Defense Ministry said Yemen is drafting plans to deploy 103,000
soldiers to maintain order during elections on Feb. 21. The ministry said
soldiers would guard the area around polling stations throughout the Gulf

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during a rally to demand trial for outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Sanaa on Jan. 13. /PressTV

“Each election committee would be protected by an officer and six soldiers,” the ministry said.

The ministry’s weekly, called “September 26,” quoted the head of the security committee, Sabah Al Haj, as saying that the soldiers would maintain order throughout the election period. Al Haj, a leading judge and member of the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum, said this would include the evacuation of refugees from schools.

Elections are being planned as the Sanaa regime has lost control over many areas of the country. In mid-January, Al Qaida was said to have captured Rada as well as cities in at least two other provinces.

After being in power for 32 years, President Ali Abdullah Saleh,
expected to be granted immunity from prosecution, has pledged to leave
office. Vice President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi was said to be the favorite in
the race.

Officials said another flashpoint was expected to take place in the
northern province of Saada. The province has been the scene of battles
between Shi’ite fighters believed financed by Iran and Sunni Islamists
aligned with Al Qaida.

“There are security arrangements with military units in cooperation with
local authorities,” the ministry said.

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