SANAA - Yemen's president abolished two major military units on Wednesday, state television reported, in a move that appears set to deprive a political rival of a senior military position and could deepen instability in the impoverished Arab state.

State television reported that President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi had issued a number decrees that restructured the armed forces into four major units and abolished the Republican Guard and the First Armored Division.

"The army was restructured into four units, the land forces, the navy, the air force and the border forces," state television reported.

Brigadier General Ahmed Saleh, an opponent of Hadi's and the commander of the Republican Guard, this month refused orders to hand over long-range missiles to the Defense Ministry, raising fears of a showdown that could threaten a fragile power structure.

The general is a son of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in February after a year of protests under a transition plan backed by Gulf Arab countries and the United States.

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