SANAA, Nov. 21 (Xinhua) -- Armed tribesmen in Yemen on Wednesday exploded the country's main oil export pipeline for the third time in less than two weeks and killed three soldiers in clashes, Yemeni officials said.
"The armed tribal group detonated bombs in another section of the main oil export pipeline in a faraway area in Marib province on Wednesday," an interior ministry official told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
Few hours later, the tribal gunmen clashed with the security forces on duty to protect engineering team while repairing the line from damages.
"Colonel Ali al-Asadi, the tank battalion commander of the Marib-based brigade 312, who is also in charge of the oil-line security protecting forces, was killed along with two soldiers in the clashes," the official said.
The clashes erupted after the armed tribesmen tried to prevent oil engineers from fixing the pipeline from damages of previous bombings earlier this month in Marib, said the official.
Reinforcement dispatched to the scene amid attempts to complete the line's damages, and restore exporting the crude oil, according to provincial officials.
On November 12, the same pipeline was exploded in two places by the same armed tribesmen of Wadi Abida tribe, causing a cut of flows through the Marib line to the Ras Isa export terminal in the Red Sea.
Officials said the angry tribesmen were revenging a death sentence on October 2 against two members of their clan, whom the government authorities have accused of joining al-Qaida local branch and killing several soldiers in attacks over the past two years.
"The Wadi Abida tribe has resorted to bombing the main pipeline for several times in bids to press the government not to execute their jailed relatives," a provincial councilman told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.
The 272-mile (about 438 kilometers) pipeline carries about 110, 000 barrels of oil a day from Marib, some 173 km northeast of the capital Sanaa, to the Red Sea terminal.
In August, the pipeline resumed full capacity operation after a nine-month closure due to repeated attacks during the uprising last year.
The country's transitional government, which depends on oil exports for up to 70 percent of its budget, said it has beefed up security measures since earlier this year to protect the pipeline and prevent further attacks.