Yemen general says clash was assassination attempt

SANAA, April 5 Tue Apr 5, 2011 11:00am EDT

SANAA, April 5 (Reuters) - A clash on Tuesday between supporters of Yemen President Ali Abdullah Saleh and an army unit defending protesters demanding his ouster was a government attempt to assassinate General Ali Mohsen, the Saleh opponent said.

"The issue appeared to be a trick to assassinate Ali Mohsen, intermediaries and a group of tribal sheikhs," a statement from Mohsen's office said, referring to tribal chiefs the government sent to mediate with Mohsen.

The defence ministry said earlier three people died when the tribesmen were attacked by protesters and Mohsen's troops, who are protecting the activists. Mohsen is a key general who turned against Saleh last month. A Reuters reporter at the scene said one person died when clashes broke out after protesters tried to leave the entrance of their camp around Sanaa University for a march.

The statement said that when Mohsen came out to meet the delegation of tribal mediators, snipers opened fire.