4 soldiers killed in armed confrontation in S. Yemen

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About four Yemeni soldiers were killed and eight others injured on Monday during an armed confrontation in the southern province of Abyan, a military official told Xinhua.

According to the local military official, who asked to remain anonymous, pro-government Yemeni forces clashed with security units of the Southern Transitional Council (STC) in Mudiyah district in the eastern part of Abyan.

"The pro-government Yemeni forces attempted to establish a checkpoint in Mudiyah but the STC security units intervened and prevented any military presence of the government there," he said.

The armed confrontation between the two warring sides lasted hours, he added.

Around seven soldiers of the pro-government forces were captured by the STC security units following the armed confrontation, according to local residents.

Senior social and tribal figures started exerting efforts through mediation in an attempt to contain and calm the situation in Abyan.

Reconciliation talks between the Aden-based STC and the Yemeni government have been continuing in Saudi Arabia for several weeks.

But reaching a final deal was postponed because of interventions of regional countries that pushed their local Yemeni parties to refuse sharing power with the STC which is widely supported by the southern people.

In August, the STC seized control of the strategic southern port city of Aden and neighboring provinces following days of fighting with the government forces.

The STC is part of the Saudi-led Arab coalition to fight Iran-backed Houthi militias in northern Yemen in a war that has rekindled old strains between the north and south of Yemen.

The impoverished Arab country has been locked in a civil war since late 2014, when the Houthis overran much of the country and seized all northern provinces including the capital Sanaa.

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