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Yemeni soldiers killed in raid on checkpoint

Unknown assailants kill five servicemen in attack on checkpoint in southeastern Hadramout province, officials say.

Last updated: 08 Apr 2014 16:21
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University professor Ismail al-Wazir was lightly wounded and two of his bodyguards were killed [AFP]

Gunmen have killed five soldiers guarding a checkpoint in southeastern Yemen, local officials said.

A security source said the assailants arrived in two vehicles and stormed the Buroum checkpoint on the border between Shabwa and Hadramout provinces with automatic fire and grenades on Tuesday, Reuters news agency reported.

The attack was the third in two weeks in Hadramout.

Last month suspected fighters killed 20 members of Yemen's security forces in a raid on a checkpoint in Hadramout. Earlier this month, an officer and four soldiers were killed in the southeastern province.

In a separate incident, a leader of a Shia Muslim party was wounded in a drive-by shooting in the capital Sanaa in which two guards died.

A security source and witnesses said the gunmen opened fire on Ismail al-Wazir, head of the shura council of al-Haq party, a political group associated with Houthi rebels based in northern Yemen.

They said Wazir, who is also a law professor at Sanaa University, was seriously wounded in the pelvis and two of his security escorts were killed.

The Houthi rebels, who have fought government forces several times under Saleh, have battled their way to the outskirts of Sanaa in clashes, before withdrawing under a government-sponsored ceasefire.

The incidents underscored the volatility in Yemen more than two years after long-serving President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down following months of protests by Yemenis demanding democratic reforms.

Saleh's successor, Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, has been struggling to restore stability to the impoverished country of 25 million amid multiple challenges that include a rebellion by Shia Muslim rebels in the north, a secessionist movement in the south and al-Qaeda-linked fighters.

Yemen is struggling to restore authority and one of the most active branches of al-Qaeda has exploited the political turmoil.

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