Al-Qaeda men seize Yemen town

Al-Qaeda militants have seized a small town southeast of Yemen’s capital Sanaa on Sunday in another setback to efforts to restore order after President Ali Abdullah Saleh formally handed over power following almost a year of mass protests against his rule.

Police said the militants met little resistance from a small police force when they entered the town of Radda in al-Baydah province, 170 km from Sanaa, Saturday night, seizing an ancient citadel and mosque.

The capture of Radda expanded al Qaeda control outside the southern province of Abyan, where they have taken over several towns since the uprising against Saleh began.

Saleh signed a deal brokered by Yemen's Gulf neighbours in November under which he shifted formal power to his deputy. But he has not yet left the country and continues to wield a great deal of power through relatives' control of security forces, raising concern about the integrity of the deal.

UN staff kidnapped

Underscoring the continued lawlessness in Yemen, a Norwegian working for the UN was kidnapped in Sanaa at the weekend, Norway’s foreign ministry said. A tribal source said the Norwegian was abducted by tribesmen from oil-producing Maarib province demanding the release of a suspect accused of killing two members of the security forces.

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