Car bomb kills 26 in Yemen after Hadi takes oath

Violence erupts after Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi formally replaces Saleh as president in latest Arab Spring power transfer.

February 25, 2012 13:39
2 minute read.
Yemen ipresident Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Yemen president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi 390. (photo credit: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi / Reuters)

ADEN - A car containing explosives blew up while trying to attack a presidential palace in southern Yemen on Saturday, killing at least 26 people and injuring several others, according to witnesses and medics.

The attack, apparently by a suicide bomber, happened in Hadramout, far from the capital of Sanaa, where Yemen's new president took an oath of office on Saturday.

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Yemen's south is a turbulent region where secessionists are seeking to revive a socialist southern state and where an active wing of al-Qaida has taken root.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

Hadi takes presidential oath

Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi took the constitutional oath to become Yemen's new president on Saturday, formally removing Ali Abdullah Saleh from power after a year of protests that paralyzed the impoverished Arabian Peninsular country.

Hadi, who stood as the sole candidate to replace Saleh in a US-backed power transfer deal brokered by Gulf neighbors, was voted in after more than 60 percent of eligible voters had taken part in the election this week.

Saleh's departure makes him the fourth Arab autocrat to be removed from power in more than a year of mass uprisings and war that have redrawn the political map of the Middle East.

After taking the oath, Hadi said in a speech that Yemen must draw a line under the crisis and tackle pressing issues such as a deepening economic crisis, and bringing those displaced by Yemen's crisis back to their homes.

"If we don't deal with challenges practically, then chaos will reign," Hadi said.

Yemen's richer neighbors, led by Saudi Arabia, crafted the power transfer, also backed by Washington and a UN Security Council resolution, to ease out Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for 33 years. There was concern that chaos in Yemen could empower the country's branch of al-Qaida near oil shipping routes.

Hadi's inauguration is scheduled for Monday, which Saleh is to attend. Saleh returned to Yemen on Friday after seeking treatment in the United States for injuries suffered in a assassination attempt last year.

A high election turnout was deemed crucial to Hadi's legitimacy, but the vote was rejected in advance in wide swathes of the country, notably the south, where secessionists urged a boycott.

The pact enshrines Hadi as the head of state and key figure in a proposed two-year political transition that envisions parliamentary elections, a new constitution and restructuring of the military in which Saleh's son and nephew still hold power.

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