Yemeni police shot and wounded two supporters of the secessionist Southern Movement today as a crowd tried to storm a hospital to recover the body of a comrade killed earlier this month, witnesses said. Police opened fire when protesters tried to break into Al Nasr hospital in the southern city of Daleh to recover the body of Abdulalim Ali Saleh, the witnesses said. One witness claimed that police then removed the body to an unknown destination to prevent further trouble.
There was no immediate comment from police and no explanation as to why Saleh was not buried within 24 hours of his death, as is the Muslim custom. Pro-independence protests have multiplied in the south amid a worsening economic situation in Yemen and charges of discrimination in favour of northerners. South Yemen was independent from 1967 until 1990 when it united with the north. The south seceded in 1994, sparking a short-lived conflict that ended when the south was overrun by northern troops.