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S. Yemen Leader Survives Attempt at Assassination

January 13, 1986|Associated Press

MANAMA, Bahrain — The president of Marxist-ruled South Yemen has survived an assassination attempt, and the leaders of the plot to overthrow him, including a former president, have been executed, the Gulf News Agency reported today from Aden.

The agency said the conspirators against President Ali Nasser Mohammed included Abdul Fattah Ismail, who was a former head of state in the tiny country on the southern tip of the Arabian Peninsula, and Ali Ahmed Nasser Antar, the first deputy prime minister and a close associate of the president.

The agency, quoting Radio Aden, said that Ismail and Antar were sentenced to death and executed, and that possible accomplices were held for trial.

The agency reported earlier that a special tribunal was formed to try the plotters.

The report did not say when the coup attempt took place, but said Radio Aden went off the air last Wednesday for about 1 1/2 hours, later blaming power failure. Aden is the capital and chief port of South Yemen, one of the world's poorest nations, with a population of about 2 million.

Mohammed served as Ismail's prime minister from 1978 to 1980, then took power himself in April, 1980, in a change of leadership within the governing Yemen Socialist Party.

Ismail was exiled at the time to the Soviet Union.

At least one other plot to topple Mohammed was reportedly uncovered in Aden during the last five years, but there never was any official confirmation of such reports.

Mohammed, like Ismail before him, also holds the title of secretary-general of the Yemen Socialist Party.

South Yemen, which won independence from Britain in 1967, became bound with the Soviet Union in 1979 in a 20-year treaty of friendship and cooperation.

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