Sanaa, Feb 18: Four Yemeni soldiers and a high-ranking officer were killed in clashes with secessionist gunmen in the country’s southern province of al-Dhalea Tuesday, military sources told Xinhua.
“Four soldiers along with an army colonel were killed during the armed confrontations with the secessionist gunmen,” Xinhua quoted local military sources as saying, adding that two citizens were also wounded.
“Artillery shelling and bloody clashes have been taking place between the army and the secessionist gunmen in different areas of al-Dhalea province since the early hours of Tuesday,” a local resident said.
The confrontation started when a military patrol was targeted by the secessionist group, an army source said.
North and South Yemen were unified peacefully in 1990, but their relationship deteriorated in 1994 and a civil war broke out.
Southerners have been complaining of being marginalised, particularly since they lost the four-month war.
Pro-secession protests are on the rise in the south amid a worsening economic situation and allegations of discrimination against southerners.
There is concern that the conflicts in southern Yemen would create instability that would help the Al Qaeda gain a foothold.