Al-Qaeda gunmen shot dead four Yemeni troops on Sunday, a day after President Ali Abdullah Saleh rejected calls for his immediate resignation. According to AFP, the elite Republican Guard troops were ambushed as they delivered food near Marib about 170 kilometres east of Sanaa.
A military attack helicopter and ground troops pursued the attackers into a nearby valley, a security source said.
Sunday's attack was not connected to the anti-government protests which have killed at least 19 people in Yemen since February 16. Yemeni forces detained 16 protesters in the main southern city Aden on Saturday, as thousands continued to demand Saleh's resignation over corruption, poverty and high unemployment. He insists to serve out his current term which expires in 2013. "A peaceful transition of power cannot be done with chaos, but by having recourse to the people through elections, so that they can decide who they want to lead without acts of violence and trouble," a statement by Saleh's aide said on Saturday.