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Yemen PM Resigns Following Takeover Of Key Govt Buildings By Rebels

The Prime Minister of Yemen, Mohammed Basindwa, has resigned following escalating violence in the country which has left over 140 people dead, according to the state news agency.

Basindwa said his stepping down would pave way for an agreement to be reached between the government and the Houthis rebels.

“I have decided to tender my resignation from the government out of concern, and to pave the way for any agreement reached by the leaders of the Ansarullah (Houthis), and Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, president of the republic,” Baswinda said.

Basindwa has been in office since February 2012 and had been the target of strong criticism for his inability to deal with the country’s pressing problems.

Meanwhile, a peace deal between Houthi rebels and government loyalists in Yemen appears to be in jeopardy, as the Houthis have taken control of government buildings and a radio station in Sanaa and a major army base north of the capital.

On Sunday, the rebels took over a number of government buildings in the capital including the Defence Ministry headquarters, the Central Bank, some hospitals and a state-owned radio station.

They also took control of the Iman University in Sanaa. The university is seen as a bastion of Sunni hard-liners and a recruitment ground for militants.

Al Jazeera’s Mohamed Vall, reporting from Sanaa, said that soldiers from the army were seen changing into civilian clothing to avoid being “arrested by the Houthis”.

The Houthis have been pressing for a change of government and what they see as a fair share of power.

President Hadi described the rebel offensive as a “coup attempt” in a BBC report.

The Defence Ministry and the general staff issued a joint statement calling on military units in Sanaa and nearby areas to remain at their posts, be on high alert and safeguard their weapons and equipment.

The violence continued despite the UN envoy to Yemen, Jamal Benomar, stating that an agreement on Saturday to halt the violence was under discussion.

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