Yemen's outgoing president Ali Abdullah Saleh on Thursday ordered the removal of his photos from all government and private facilities.

The move marks the end of Saleh's 33-year reign in Yemen and brings to a close the year of bloody unrest that resulted in his outster.

The state news gency said Saleh had given his orders to replace his pictures with the picture of his deputy Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, who is due to be officially announced as president of the troubled nation.

Early this month, the disappearance of Saleh's a small photograph on the top left corner of the front page of the government-run newspaper Al Thawra, provoked his supporters. They stormed the newspaper, demanded the return of his photo, and forced the paper to write an apology.

At the Taez-based Al Gumhuria daily, another group of Saleh's armed supporters besieged the government daily and forced the editor to fix the leader's photo on the front page.

Saleh's order is said to be intended to ensure further incidents do not occur again as the nation prepares for new elections.

The outgoing president is currently is New York, receiving treatment from serious injuries he sustained during from attack on his presidential compound on 3 June last year.

US officials, however, are fighting a strategically critical al-Qaeda terror insurgency in Yemen, and say Saleh will not be given permanent refuse so as to avoid upsetting relations with Sanaa. 

Saleh is said to be searching for asylum in the Gulf region, but he is considered a political hot potato and officials in the region have refused to disucss the matter publicly.

Yemen is currently headed by an unity government equally divided between opposition figures and Saleh-era holdovers. Under a Gulf Arab brokered transition of power deal the government is tasked with overseeing elections and the writing of a new constitution.

Acting president Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi is widely expected to retain his position in the elections.