Unidentified gunmen shot dead a senior Yemeni security police officer in the southern port of Aden on Wednesday, a local official said, in the latest of a series of attacks during ten months of mass protests against the president.
Colonel Abdulhakim al-Qadi was shot in a busy market and the assailants were able to escape, the official told Reuters. He died at the scene.
Southern Yemen has been the scene of clashes between the army and al Qaeda-linked militants who have seized three towns during a popular movement to oust autocratic President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Neighboring oil giant Saudi Arabia and the United States fear spreading anarchy in Yemen is emboldening al Qaeda’s regional wing, one of the global Islamist network’s most aggressive branches.
In southern Yemen, tens of thousands of refugees have fled to Aden and neighboring provinces to escape the fighting and the army has struggled to regain territory lost to the militants.
Saleh, in power for 33 years, has refused to implement a Gulf-brokered power transfer plan, aggravating protests and bringing the impoverished country to the brink of civil war.