Yemeni President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi vowed to restore state authority and warned of "civil war" in the Sunni-majority country as Shiite rebels were seen in near-total control of the capital on Tuesday.
"Sanaa is facing a conspiracy that will lead towards civil war," Hadi said in a speech at the presidential palace, two days after the rebels took control of all other key state institutions in the capital, overshadowing a UN-brokered peace deal.
Hundreds of rebel fighters manned checkpoints on the airport road and other major throughfares in the capital on Tuesday while heavily armed patrols cruised the streets in four-wheel-drive vehicles, AFP correspondents reported.
Rebels were posted outside the public offices they entered on Sunday, which include the main government building, parliament, army headquarters and the central bank, alongside small detachments of military police.
But Hadi insisted: "Sanaa will not fall."
UN envoy Jamal Benomar, who brokered Sunday's agreement aimed at ending deadly fighting between the rebels and Sunni Islamists, said the rebels' taking of key institutions virtually without resistance seemed to signify the "collapse" of the security forces in Sanaa.
"What has happened these past few days could lead to the collapse of the Yemeni state and the end of the political transition," he told Al-Arabiya television on Monday evening.