A southern separatist was shot dead by Yemeni troops on Saturday in clashes that erupted when activists blocked roads during a protest in the main port city of Aden.
“One man was killed and two others were wounded by gunfire,” a medic at Aden’s al-Naqib hospital told AFP news agency on condition of anonymity.
A security official said “supporters of the Southern Movement blocked roads and when the army tried to intervene, gunmen among them deployed in buildings in these areas opened fire on troops, prompting clashes,” the news agency reported.
North and south Yemen were unified in 1990 after the Communist-led southern government collapsed. Northern forces won a brief civil war four years later after the south tried to secede from the union.
The secessionist movement gained strength during mass, nationwide street protests against former president Ali Abdullah Saleh in 2011, which forced the veteran strongman from office a year ago.
Activists from the separatist Southern Movement confirmed the victims belonged to their group which calls for autonomy or the complete independence of the south.
Aden residents said dozens of separatists took to the streets in the districts of Khor Maksar, Mualla, Sheikh Osman and Dar Saad early on Saturday, blocking roads and burning tires, prompting clashes with the army.
Residents in Mansura district spoke of “very fierce clashes” ongoing in their area between the army and separatists.
Thursday’s protests were to mark the first anniversary of the ouster of autocratic president Ali Abdullah Saleh.