SANAA, Yemen (AP) — Two gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed an intelligence officer in southeastern Yemen on Saturday, security officials said.
The officials said that the officer, Mutea Baqutian, was on his way to work in Mukalla, capital of Hadramawt province, when the gunmen stopped his car and gunned him down, then fled.
The government has blamed al-Qaida militants for similar assassinations of several senior military and intelligence officials this year. The bullet-riddled body of Major al-Numeiry Abdo al-Oudi, deputy director of the security department of al-Qitten in Hadramawt, was found in the town's suburbs last week. He had been kidnapped earlier in the month.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity according to regulations.
Meanwhile, Maj. Gen. Ahmed Seif, who is commander of Yemen's central military region, said the Defense Ministry has deployed an infantry brigade in the northeastern province of Marib to stop armed tribesmen who maintain cordial ties with al-Qaida from attacking oil pipelines and power generating stations, as well as to counter al-Qaida militants.
State TV meanwhile aired a meeting between President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi and eight Yemeni sailors who were rescued last week by forces of Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region after being held for nearly three years by Somali pirates.
The Puntland government says that its forces captured the hijacked Panama-flagged MV Iceberg 1 on Sunday after a siege that lasted two weeks. They freed the eight Yemeni sailors together with five Indians, two Pakistanis, four Ghanaians, two Sudanese and a Filipino. The ship was hijacked March 29, 2010.
Hadi congratulated the eight sailors for their safety and ordered the government to compensate them for their suffering.
Eqbal Yassin, a relative of one of the freed sailors, told The Associated Press, that the hijackers had allowed some sailors to phone their relatives and convey the pirates' demand for $5 million ransom. He said he was told by his relative that the hijackers killed a Yemeni sailor who tried to escape. He gave no further details.