By REUTERS 02/04/2012
ADEN - Militants attacked a Yemeni army base in the country's south, a local official said on Saturday, highlighting a security breakdown just weeks ahead of a presidential election aimed at ending a year of political upheaval.
One militant was killed in the attack on Friday night on the base on the outskirts of Lawdar in Abyan province, the official said. Explosions and heavy exchanges of gunfire were heard throughout the city, residents said.
Lawdar was the site of a US drone strike that killed at least 12 militants earlier this week amid a swell of violence in the south, where Islamist fighters suspected of links to al-Qaida have seized several towns.
Weakened by a year of protests against outgoing President Ali Abdullah Saleh, Yemen's government is facing challenges from al-Qaida-linked militants who have seized territory in the south and frequently attack state troops and offices.