Yemen police arrest two separatist leaders in south

February 21, 2013 - 6:33:14 am

ADEN: Police arrested two separatist leaders in south Yemen ahead of planned rival rallies marking the first anniversary of ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s ouster, an official and activists said yesterday.

Qassem Askar, a leader of the hardline faction of the separatist Southern Movement, was arrested early in the morning in southern port city Aden, activist Yasser Al Yafie told AFP. “He was taken to an unknown location.”

Southern cleric Hussein bin Shouaib was arrested late on Tuesday after he chaired a meeting urging protests in Aden, the ex-capital of the formerly independent south, a security official said. The arrests come on the eve of the first anniversary today of the uncontested election of President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi which ended Saleh’s 33-year autocratic rule, following a year-long deadly uprising to topple the former president.

Supporters and opponents of Hadi, himself a southerner, have said they will hold rallies today, prompting fears of possible clashes in Aden — a stronghold of southern separatists. AFP