Dec 21, 2011
Sana'a (dpa) - At least 14 people were killed in clashes between al-Qaeda-linked fighters and Yemeni government forces in the southern province of Abyan, military officials said Wednesday.
The fighting erupted when militants suspected of having links to al-Qaeda attacked military units on the outskirts of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan, killing four soldiers, a military official said, adding that 10 gunmen were also killed.
The opposition has accused the Yemeni government of allowing militants to control Zinjibar to justify a military offensive there and divert international attention from protests demanding that former president Ali Abdullah Saleh stand trial.
A Gulf-brokered power transfer deal last month granted Saleh immunity from legal prosecution in return for stepping down and handing over power to his deputy.
In a separate incident, a senior Yemeni security officer was killed by unknown gunmen in the southern province of Lahj, the Yemeni website Rai News reported.
Gunmen riding a motorbike shot Colonel Mahmoud Saleh as he was getting into his car late Tuesday, the report said.