by Fawaz Al-Haidari
Published — Sunday 24 February 2013
Last update 24 February 2013 2:40 pm
ADEN: Three people were killed in clashes as southern separatists blocked roads in two Yemeni cities yesterday, adding to the death toll of this week’s violence in the troubled south of the country.
“A policeman was killed and another wounded in clashes when security forces intervened after gunmen from the Southern Movement blocked roads” in Aden, General Abdulhafez Al-Saqqaf, head of its central security services, told AFP.
A soldier was also wounded, the official said.
Also in Aden, troops shot dead a southern activist, according to a medic at the city’s Al-Naqib hospital and activists of the Southern Movement, which advocates the region’s autonomy or independence.
Aden residents said dozens of separatists took to the streets of the Khor Maksar, Mualla, Sheikh Osman and Dar Saad districts, blocking roads, burning tires and clashing with the army.
A security official told AFP that “supporters of the Southern Movement blocked roads and, when the army tried to intervene, gunmen among them deployed in buildings in these areas opened fire on troops, prompting the clashes.”
The official, who asked not to be named, said the protesters were supporters of a hard-line separatist faction led by exiled Ali Salem Al-Baid, that has so far refused to take part in a national dialogue set to take place on March 18.
The activists were protesting “under the banner of civil disobedience,” he said.
In the southeastern province of Hadramawt, where similar clashes took place on Saturday, police killed another protester, Southern Movement activist Nasser Bagzkoz told AFP.
“Police opened fire at a peaceful protest that took off in the town of Ghail Bawazir,” 30 km west of the provincial capital Mukala, killing protester Mohammed Buslama, he said. Residents said gunfire rang across Mukala as separatists blocked roads and burned tires.
The separatists also burnt down two offices belonging to the Al-Islah (Reform) Party, which backs President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, witnesses said. A security official in Hadramawt said the local central security services head, Col. Abdulwahab Al-Wali, escaped an assassination bid by separatists who opened fire at him. His three guards were wounded in the attempt.