Yemen President Hadi 'removes Republican Guard commander'

Soldiers of the Republican Guard stand to attention during a graduation ceremony President Hadi has taken several moves to extend control over the armed forces

Yemeni President Abdrabbuh Mansour Hadi has removed the commander of an elite army unit, state TV has reported.

Gen Ahmed Ali Saleh will leave his post as commander of the Republican Guard and instead become ambassador to the United Arab Emirates.

Gen Saleh is the son of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stood down in 2011 after an uprising.

The move is being seen as an attempt by Mr Hadi to exert control over the armed forces.

President Saleh's nephew Ammar Saleh has also been moved from his post as a security chief to the Yemeni embassy in Ethiopia.

Gen Ammar Saleh's brother, Gen Tareq Saleh, head of the Presidential Guard, will take up a diplomatic post in Germany.

Since he took over as president last year, Mr Hadi has made several moved to strengthen his control over the army.

In April 2012, he sacked nearly 20 senior officers appointed by President Saleh, who had ruled Yemen for 33 years and packed the senior ranks of the armed forces with his supporters and relatives.

Later that year, in August, Mr Hadi transferred the command of several Republican Guards' units to different forces.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh handed over power to his deputy Mr Hadi, who became president in February 2012 after an election in which he stood unopposed.

Last month, UN-backed reconciliation talks began aimed at drafting a new constitution and preparing for full democratic elections in February 2014.

However, hardline secessionists from the south are boycotting the talks, which are expected to last six months.

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