Two civilians killed in south Yemen clashes: sources

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Renewed clashes between Yemeni police and southern separatists killed two civilians on Wednesday, five days ahead of the country’s troubled national dialogue, medics and an activist told AFP.

Police opened fire on Southern Movement activists who had blocked roads with rocks and burning tyres as part of a campaign of civil disobedience they began less than a month ago, an activist said.

A security official said police and separatists had “traded fire” in Aden’s Mansura district, a stronghold of the pro-independence movement.

Six people were wounded in the clashes, medics said.

On February 21, security forces killed four people during protests marking the first anniversary since President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi came to power following nearly a year of protests that ousted his autocratic predecessor, Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Southerners have since called for a campaign of civil disobedience to be observed every Saturday and Wednesday.

Wesnesday’s deaths bring to 12 the number of people killed since, according to an AFP tally based on reports by medics and activists.

South Yemen broke away in 1994, sparking a civil war, before it was overrun by northern troops.

Hardliners in the south have refused to take part in the national dialogue set to take place on March 18, insisting on a secession of the regions of the formerly independent south.

The dialogue, which was delayed due to differences after it was set to take place in mid-November last year, is aimed at drafting a new constitution and electoral law for parliamentary and presidential polls in 2014.