Yemen’s president removed his predecessor’s son and nephews from powerful security posts on Wednesday in the most dramatic step yet in sidelining old regime figures, according to the nation’s state-run media.
Former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who stepped down in early 2012 after more than a year of protests against his rule, placed relatives and loyalists in top military and government posts over his 33-year rule.
They have been accused of obstructing the U.S.-backed government as it tries to reform and fight an active al-Qaida branch in the impoverished Arab nation.
Fireworks went off in the capital, Sanaa, and Yemen’s second largest city, Taiz, after the announcement. Restructuring the army was a top demand by Yemenis after Saleh’s ouster.
His vice president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, took over in a power transfer deal brokered by Yemen’s powerful Gulf neighbors and backed by the United States. Hadi has since been trying to remove former regime loyalists over concerns that Saleh was using them to further destabilize the turmoil-wracked country.
In his latest move, Hadi not only removed Saleh’s son and two nephews from their posts, but also effectively ordered them to leave the country by posting them abroad.