By Fawaz al-Haidari (AFP)
ADEN, Yemen — Five people, including three soldiers, were killed in violence across Yemen's main port city of Aden on Friday, officials and medics said, as the United Nations announced it will send a mission next week to the restive country.
A bomb-laden car exploded at an army post killing the soldiers, a security official told AFP.
The attack also wounded four soldiers and burned one of seven tanks stationed there, an officer from the police's criminal investigation department said.
It sparked gun battles between the army and gunmen that left one civilian killed and four others wounded, medics said.
The officials did not blame the attack on any party and no side has yet claimed its responsibility.
It came nearly an hour after soldiers shot dead one man and wounded six others at the funeral of a man who had died a year ago in custody in Aden after being detained for alleged links to Al-Qaeda.
Already tightly-patrolled Aden has seen heavy security deployment since deadly violence erupted late May between alleged Al-Qaeda fighters and the army in the southern city of Zinjibar, raising fears of a spillover of the extremist militants into the main port city.
At least 100 soldiers have been killed in the fighting and 260 more have been wounded, according to a military official.
Meanwhile, the United Nations said it is sending a mission to Yemen on Monday to examine the human rights situation in the impoverished Arab nation, a spokeswoman at the UN human rights office said on Friday.
"We will be deploying a mission to Yemen, an assessment mission to Yemen beginning on Monday. This will be a 10-day mission and a team of three from our office will be going," said Ravina Shamdasani.
"The mission's goal is basically to assess... as you know information that's coming from Yemen has been really difficult to independently verify... the main goal of the mission is to go and assess the situation," she added.
The team is to meet officials, rights activists, members of the opposition as well as victims of violations. It is also planning visits to medical centres and detention centres.
"They will hopefully come back with recommendations for the government," said Shamdasani.
The Yemen has also been gripped in political turmoil since a massive uprising against the 33-year-old rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh erupted in January.
At least 200 people have been killed by troops loyal to Saleh in anti-regime protests, while the president was himself wounded in a bomb blast at his palace mosque earlier this month.
Saleh, who has not appeared in public since the attack, was flown to Saudi Arabia for treatment while the opposition has demanded his Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi to assume power.
A military leader from the powerful Hashid tribe in Yemen voiced support on Friday for protesters' demands to form an interim ruling council.
"We stand with the revolution and the revolutionaries, whatever sacrifices we ought to make," said Sheikh Hashim Abdullah al-Ahmar at a protest in which tens of thousands gathered in the capital, Sanaa.
"The revolution has achieved one of its objectives" with the departure of Saleh, said Sheikh Hashim who was one of the president's bodyguards before he defected when anti-Saleh protests erupted this year.
"We are now working on a peaceful and orderly transfer of power, a mission entrusted to Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, a national figure who is accepted by all Yemenis," he said.
Hadi's grip on power is seen as shaky as Saleh relatives continue to run main security systems. Key among them is Saleh's son, Ahmed, who leads the elite Republican Guard.