Two Yemeni policemen were killed in the south-eastern province of Hadramout on Saturday by unidentified gunmen, according to an official of the internationally-recognised government.
"The unknown gunmen opened fire and engaged in an armed confrontation with a police patrol near the airport in Seiyun, Hadramout's second-largest city," the source said on condition of anonymity. He confirmed that the incident also left three other police injured including a senior officer.
Although no group has thus far claimed responsibility for the attack, local authorities have accused Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has an established presence in the province, of being behind the killings.
Last month the Arab Weekly reported that despite being weakened by a two-decade US drone campaign, AQAP seeks to regenerate itself and to exploit a security vacuum, while Saudi-backed, pro-government forces are currently preoccupied with the Houthi-aligned army's ongoing offensive on the oil-rich province of Marib, the government's remaining stronghold in the north of the country.
South Yemen National Anthem from today's protests in Seiyun Hadhramaut, where residents went out to affirm their rejection of the deadly Yemen Unity & to demand the removal of the North Yemeni forces occupying Wadi Hadhramaut.#تحرير_حضرموت_الوادي_مطلبنا pic.twitter.com/74jiiSsXcr
— Summer Ahmed (@samwrax) July 8, 2021
On Thursday, the city of Seiyun witnessed a large peaceful demonstration as local residents commemorated Southern Land Day, in memory of the South's defeat against the North during the Yemen Civil War of 1994. Protestors waved South Yemen flags and called for northern forces to leave the south and to relocate to the frontlines against the Houthis in accordance with the power-sharing deal known as the Riyadh Agreement in 2019 between the Saudi-based Yemeni government and the UAE-supported Southern Transitional Council (STC).