(MENAFN - Gulf Times) A high-ranking police officer, a soldier and four militants have been killed in separate incidents in south Yemen, a security official and witnesses told AFP yesterday.
The police official said Mubarak Barafaa, head of a criminal investigation unit, was cut down by machinegun fire late on Friday close to his house in Ghayl Ba Wazir, in the southeastern province of Hadramout.
He died soon afterwards in hospital in Mukalla, the provincial capital, added the official, saying the gunmen "who were probably members of Al Qaeda" escaped.
No group has yet admitted responsibility for the murder, but Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is very active in southern and eastern Yemen, where attacks on the security forces are regularly blamed on the jihadists.
Elsewhere, a soldier and four Al Qaeda fighters were killed in overnight clashes in the southern city of Zinjibar, capital of Abyan province, a local official said.
The clashes flared after insurgents pounded a military barracks east of Zinjibar, said the official, adding that a tank was destroyed in the attack.
Troops have been trying to regain control of Zinjibar, which fell last May to Al Qaeda's local affiliates, known as the Partisans of Shariah.
Meanwhile, in Sanaa, three mortar rounds hit the base of the First Armoured Division in the north of the capital, a military source said. No casualties were reported.
The division is led by General Ali Mohsen al-Ahmar who defected last year and sided with protesters demanding the ouster of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
After months of deadly protests, the Yemeni leader finally signed a power transfer deal in November that effectively ended his three decades in power.
He left the country last Sunday after handing constitutional powers to his deputy Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi and receiving blanket immunity against prosecution.
Islamist fighters - including a relative of a US citizen whom Washington accused of a leadership role in Al Qaeda and assassinated last year - earlier this month briefly took control of a town about 170km south of the capital.
Saleh's foes accuse him of deliberately ceding territory to Islamists to make himself indispensable to his former US patrons, and of ultimately aiming to sabotage the political transition and retain power for his inner circle.