ADEN, Yemen, Nov. 23 (Xinhua) -- A group of secessionist gunmen captured three government soldiers in Yemen's southern province of al-Dhalea on Friday evening, a security official told Xinhua.
The three government soldiers were kidnapped by masked gunmen suspected of belonging to an armed faction of the pro-secession Southern Movement near a military post in al-Dhalea province, the local security official said on condition of anonymity.
"The secessionist gunmen broke into the military site and seized the three soldiers as they were sleeping," the security source said.
The abduction was confirmed by an army officer of the 35th Armored Brigade in al-Dhalea. Sources of the pro-secessionist Southern Movement could not immediately be reached for comment.
North and South Yemen unified peacefully in 1990, but the relationship deteriorated in 1994. Calls for separation in the country's southern regions were renewed in 2007.
Southerners have complained of being marginalized, particularly since they lost the four-month civil war in 1994.
Pro-secession protests have multiplied in the south amid a worsening economic situation in Yemen and charges of discrimination in favor of northerners.
Concerns have increased since the conflicts in southern Yemen are creating an unstable state where al-Qaida could more freely operate to gain foothold.