(Updates with Saleh quotes from Yemen state television.)
Oct. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Yemen’s capital Sana’a was rocked by explosions and gunfire tonight as troops loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh battled tribal forces after the country’s leader said his opponents are carrying out a coup.
Saleh described the opposition as “insane people, who can’t sleep and only want to take power,” saying that will only happen through elections, he told SABA, Yemen’s state-run news agency. “We have strong proofs of the cooperation between Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaeda” to encourage unrest, he said.
Thousands of Yemeni protesters clashed with security forces and armed gunmen loyal to the president, leaving at least eight people dead yesterday. Saleh returned to Yemen on Sept. 23 after three months in Saudi Arabia, where he received medical treatment following a rocket attack in the capital.
Demonstrations began in the Arab world’s poorest country at the end of January, inspired by revolts that ousted the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt. They deepened as military and tribal leaders joined the opposition. Efforts by the Gulf Cooperation Council to broker a power-transfer agreement have failed.
Yemen has the eighth-largest crude reserves in the Middle East and relies on oil sales for 90 percent of its hard currency earnings, according to the U.S. Energy Information Oil Administration.
--Editor: Kevin Costelloe
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