23 Sep 2011

Unpopular president returns to Yemen

9:43 pm on 23 September 2011

The president of Yemen is back in the country more than three months after surviving an assassination attempt.

Despite months of deadly protests and international calls for his resignation, Ali Abdullah Saleh continues to hold onto power.

Yemen TV said the president arrived in the capital Sanaa by private plane at dawn on Friday and did not give any other details.

Mr Saleh has spent the past three months in Riyadh in Saudi Arabia where he was treated for wounds received in a rocket attack on the presidential palace in June.

Deeply unpopular, he has faced mass protests against his 33-year rule since January this year and his return raises the risk of all-out civil war in the volatile Arabian Peninsula country.

This week, more than 100 people have been killed in protests against his regime. The protests are expected to continue in the next few hours following weekly Friday prayers.

Sanaa has been rocked by clashes between loyalist troops and forces backing a mass protest movement calling for the Mr Saleh's overthrow.