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The BBC's East Africa correspondent Cathy Jenkins
"The president and the police chief grew up together"
 real 28k

Friday, 8 December, 2000, 12:44 GMT
Djibouti rebel police officers arrested

Djibouti authorities say they have arrested all police officers who staged a rebellion on Thursday expect police chief General Yacin Yabeh who is holed up in a foreign embassy.

But the government did not name the embassy or say how many people had been arrested.

Armed policemen surrounded the presidency on Thursday morning after President Ismael Omar Guelleh sacked Mr Yabeh as the chief of staff of the National Police Force.

No reason was given for the dismissal.

In a statement issued on Friday, the government said "the perpetrators of this small-scale rebellion have been arrested except for General Yacin Yabeh who has taken refuge at a foreign embassy."

The government said the situation had returned to normal after the disturbances which left two people dead and six others wounded.

French troops

Witnesses said the Djibouti army put down the revolt after a nearly 45 minute shoot-out with the police.

Djibouti President Ismael Omar Guelleh
Guelleh, issued decree sacking the police chief
The army, reportedly using heavy weapons, regained the national broadcasting headquarters and other key installations outside the office and residence of President Guelleh.

Witnesses said the streets of Djibouti were quiet on Friday - a non-working day in the predominantly Muslim state.

A French military officer speaking from Paris said the policemen had abandoned their positions after a few shots were fired.

"It looks like it was a fit of pique by the police because their boss was sacked. It's also possible that clan rivalries were involved," the officer told Reuters.

French troops based in Djibouti were confined to their bases during the trouble, he said.

Good friends

Many people assumed that the president and his police chief were good friends because they grew up together.

But tension between the two is reported to have been growing.

One report said President Guelleh had accused the police chief of not being in control of security in the capital.

Colonel Ali Hasan Omar was named as the new interim head of the police.

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