Yemeni tribesmen blew up a pipeline in the eastern Hadramout province, disrupting oil flow two days after they seized an Oil Ministry building in the province, a local government official said.

"Gunmen belonging to an alliance of Hadramawt tribes blew up the oil pipeline linking Masila oilfield to al-Daba port in the town of Shahr," the unnanmed official said on Saturday.

The gunmen had planted an explosive device under the pipeline in Hadramawt province, the official said, adding that production had been halted. 

An industry official confirmed the attack and that the flow of oil had ceased.

The pipeline in Hadramawt province pumps around 120,000 barrels per day and is operated by "several foreign companies". 

This was the first time the pipeline had been hit.

The attack comes amid rising tensions between Yemeni authorities and southern secessionists, allied with a group of tribes from Hadramawt, an al-Qaeda stronghold.

The violence has intensified since the killing of local tribal chief Said Ben Habrish and his bodyguards at an army checkpoint earlier this month after they refused to hand over their weapons.

Two soldiers were also killed in the exchange of fire. 

Yemen, which relies on oil exports to finance up to 70 percent of budget spending, has suffered frequent bombings of
its main pipeline in recent years.

Disgruntled tribesmen carry out such attacks to pressure the government to provide jobs, settle land disputes, or free relatives from prison.

Source: Agencies