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3 killed, 15 injured during pro-secession protest in Yemen' s Aden


18:42, February 21, 2013

ADEN, Yemen, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- At least three pro-secession protesters were killed and 15 others injured Thursday in clashes with security forces in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, police and witnesses told Xinhua.

In Aden, security forces fired tear gas and live ammunition at hundreds of pro-secession protesters, killing at least three people and injuring 15 others, the witnesses told Xinhua.

"So far, a total of 15 people were injured, among whom seven were injured in the clashes outside a public square in Khor Maksar district while the rest were injured in armed clashes in Cerater and Mansoura district," one of the witnesses said.

Violent clashes took place between security forces and hundreds of pro-secession protesters who tried to storm the heavily-guarded square in Khor Maksar district.

"The soldiers dispersed them with tear gas and live ammunition but clashes were still going on, which paralyzed traffic and forced stores to shut down in the area," a pro-secessionism activist told Xinhua anonymously.

A local police officer said that "up to three secessionist protesters died from their serious injuries about an hour after being shot early in the morning during armed clashes with troops in Aden."

In Mansoura district, a local medic said that five people were hurt in sporadic clashes between police and pro-secession protesters.

On Wednesday, security authorities threatened to use force against "anyone who tries to derail anniversary festivities of the uncontested election of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi in Aden."

Hadi was elected in February 2012 as president after Yemeni rival parties signed in the Saudi capital of Riyadh a power transfer deal, under which former President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepped down in return for a complete immunity from prosecution and handed over power to his deputy Hadi following one-year deadly protests that killed more than 2,000 people.

The president has called for separatist groups in the country's southern regions to take part in the reconciliation national dialogue scheduled on March 18 to settle disputes and promised to compensate them.

Separatist sentiment escalated following a four-month civil war in 1994. Southerners complain of being economically and politically marginalized and discriminated which was denied by the Yemeni government.

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