Monday, November 29, 1999

Militants kill Yemen soldier in convoy ambush

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Armed separatists ambushed a military convoy on a road in southern Yemen on Saturday, killing one soldier and wounding four, a security official told Reuters.Authorities closed the road to avoid further incidents after the fighting in Lahej province in south Yemen where the government has faced increasing secessionist protests in recent months."Security forces are chasing the saboteurs," the security official said.A defence ministry website denied reports that Rshad al-Alimi, deputy prime minister for security affairs, was travelling in the convoy.Yemen's deputy prime minister for internal affairs escaped an assassination attempt on Thursday, after militants opened fire on his convoy in a different southern province, where he had attended celebrations marking the 20th anniversary of Yemen's unity.North and south Yemen united in 1990. But many in the south, where most of the impoverished Arab country's oil facilities are, complain that northerners take their resources and deny them political rights.Several soldiers, separatist gunmen and bystanders have been killed in the recent months' escalating tension in the south.The government, struggling to stabilise a fractious country in which central authority is often weak, faces international pressure to quell domestic conflicts in order to focus on fighting a resurgent al Qaeda.(Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden and Mohamed Sudam in Sana; Writing by Firouz Sedarat in Dubai; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

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