SANA, Yemen — Yemen's government and armed tribesmen seeking President Ali Abdullah Saleh's ouster agreed to a temporary cease-fire to allow for negotiations after five days of street clashes that killed at least 124 people, a mediator said Saturday.
There were no signs of goodwill from either side, however, to indicate the negotiations were being taken seriously. The head of Yemen's most powerful tribal federation called on the Republican Guard and other security forces to abandon Saleh and join protesters who have been calling on the ruler of nearly 33 years to step down. And the government issued an arrest warrant for the tribal leader.
In a letter to security forces, Sheik Sadeq al-Ahmar, head of the Hashid tribal confederation, called on the army to help "get rid of this regime and be among the makers of the change that the people are calling for."
The cease-fire and negotiations will likely determine whether the mostly peaceful street protests calling for change give way to more battles between security forces and tribal militias like the ones that raged in the past week.
The fighting broke out Monday after government forces attempted to storm Ahmar's compound in the heart of the capital, Sana. Armed tribesmen loyal to Ahmar fought back, seizing a number of government buildings.
The fighting then spread outside the capital, with tribesmen capturing two military posts north of Sana before the sides reached a temporary cease-fire.
Aid workers missing: Three French aid workers are missing in eastern Yemen. The two women and one man work for Triangle Generation Humanitaire, based in Lyon, France. One of the organization's directors, Patrick Verbruggen, said they work in the eastern town of Sayoun and disappeared Saturday. Kidnappings are common in Yemen, where tribesmen use abductions to try to force concessions from the government, such as the release of fellow tribesmen in prison.
Egypt fines Mubarak
Egyptian Judge Hamdi Okasha on Saturday ordered ousted President Hosni Mubarak and two other former officials to pay $90 million in fines for government-imposed telecommunication disruptions during the popular uprising earlier this year. Mubarak, in custody at a hospital pending trial on charges of corruption and conspiring in the deadly shootings of protesters, was ordered to pay $33 million of the sum. Former Interior Minister Habib el-Adly is to pay $50 million and former Prime Minister Ahmed Nazif $7 million.