A Yemeni soldier was killed and four others wounded Saturday during clashes between the army and the armed separatist groups in the southern troubled province of Lahj, a provincial police source said.
The clashes erupted after the military units forcibly opened shops and markets in an attempt to end civil disobedience imposed Saturday morning by the secessionist Southern Movement in Lahj’s capital city of Houta.
«The military intervention provoked a short-live gun fight with separatist militants who supervised the almost daily civil disobedience in the city, leaving one soldier dead and injuring two other soldiers and two passers-by,» the source said.
«Six members of the armed separatist groups were arrested following the clashes,» he told Xinhua by phone on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, an official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua that armed militants of the separatist Southern Movement opened fire on a car owned by Aden’s governor Waheed Ali Rashied on Friday evening.
«The driver and one of the bodyguards were injured with gunshots as the governor was not in the car when it was targeted by separatist attackers Friday night on a road in Aden,» the official said.
The unrest came as tens of thousands of supporters of the pro- secession Southern Movement staged daily rallies to protest against a national reconciliation dialogue that was launched last month by President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi as part of a UN-backed political settlement to preserve the Yemeni unity.
The southerners complain of being economically and politically marginalized and discriminated against by the former regime since northern troops won a four-month civil war in 1994.
The talks aimed to compensate the southerners, draft a new constitution and pave the way for general elections by February 2014.
However, leaders of the separatist Southern Movement refused to join the talks, insisting that the north-based government should withdraw its troops from the south.