UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned Thursday that Yemen was falling apart and called for action to avert chaos, as Al-Qaeda fighters overran an army camp and seized heavy weaponry.

The UN chief was reporting to the 15-member council after talks with Gulf officials that he said concentrated on “preventing civil war in Yemen”.

“Let me be clear: Yemen is collapsing before our eyes. We cannot stand by and watch,” Ban told the council.

Long on the front line of the war against Al-Qaeda, Yemen has descended into chaos since Shiite militiamen, known as Huthis, seized Sanaa in September and ousted the government last week.

The United States, Britain and France have rushed to close their embassies over security fears, with US staff destroying top-secret documents and sensitive equipment before pulling out Wednesday.

The Netherlands followed suit Thursday, closing its Sanaa mission temporarily due to security concerns, the government said.

The Huthis said Western powers had no reason to shut their embassies.

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