SANAA - Three people were killed and nine wounded on Tuesday in a firefight between Yemeni security forces and gunmen dressed in police uniforms outside the interior ministry headquarters, a medic said.
Two gunmen and a civilian were killed in the clashes, said a medical official at a police public hospital in Al-Hasaba, a northern district of Yemen's capital Sanaa.
"Nine police officers and gunmen were also wounded," the official said, adding most of them suffered "serious injuries."
The gunmen stormed the ministry later in the afternoon, backed by policemen from the central security services and loyal to former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, a police official said.
"They took control of the ministry," the official said.
The gunmen, who were previously working unofficially in Yemen's police department, have been surrounding the ministry since Sunday, demanding that they be enrolled back into the impoverished country's police force.
The exchange of fire using Kalashnikovs was heard intermittently throughout the day, witnesses said.
The gunmen had served unofficially among the ranks of Yemen's police when it was led by Mohammed Abdullah al-Qawsi during Saleh's rule, security officials said.
Qawsi had promised to recruit them officially before President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi sacked him in May.
The gunmen stormed the ministry on Sunday and observed a sit-in before setting a two-day ultimatum for officials to meet their demands that include compensation payments and official employment.
Last year's uprising in Yemen ended when Saleh signed a Gulf-brokered agreement under which he agreed to transfer power to Hadi.
Based on the agreement, Hadi must restructure the military and security apparatus, which had been controlled by officials with close ties to Saleh and accused of corruption.