Thursday, January 6, 2011

South Yemen militants say northerners seized

Observed by: Mr. Alaa Isam

Southern Yemeni secessionist militants have kidnapped an intelligence major and three other northerners in Lahij province, activists said on Thursday.

The officer and the three civilians were taken hostage in the al-Mussaymir area in retaliation for the authorities' hunt for southern activist Abdullah Raweh, several activists in the opposition group told AFP.

A local security official confirmed that three civilians had been abducted, but denied that an officer was also seized.

He also confirmed that the security forces were hunting for Raweh.

Gunmen from the Southern Movement, which spearheads opposition to the Sanaa government, have been behind several recent kidnappings of northerners, in retaliation for the arrest of southern activists.

A communique distributed in the Lahij town of Habilayn last month and signed by the so-called Brigades of Arab South Freemen threatened to escalate retaliatory kidnappings.

Yemeni authorities on Saturday freed Hassan Baoum, the main leader of the southern opposition movement, two months after his arrest and after he was hospitalised following a four-day hunger strike, according to his son.

South Yemen was independent from the 1967 British withdrawal from Aden until the region united with the north in 1990.

The south seceded in 1994, sparking a short-lived civil war that ended with it being overrun by northern troops.


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