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Sanaa soldiers on the move

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Sanaa soldiers on the move

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A military withdrawal from the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, is underway, in the first real test of the ceasefire agreed between troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh and fighters allied to the opposition.

Last month Saleh handed his powers to the vice president under a Gulf-brokered deal that should see new elections in February.

That deal includes restructuring the military to reintegrate units that had joined the opposition during nine months of protests over Saleh’s rule of this, the poorest of Arab states.

But not everyone is happy. Friday saw hundreds of thousands take to the streets. They are demanding Saleh – who has been granted amnesty – face justice over the killing of demonstrators.

The turmoil has plunged many Yemenis deeper into poverty and the United Nations says the situation remains “very dire” despite the latest deal.