Aden: Two soldiers were among four people killed on Thursday when the army clashed with separatists in Daleh in south Yemen, sources on both sides said.

“Southern Movement activists ambushed an army vehicle at dawn with automatic fire, killing two soldiers,” a military source said.

Two attackers were killed and seven more wounded in a subsequent firefight, he added.

An activist with the Southern Movement confirmed the clash, saying the attackers belonged to the militant Southern Resistance group.

South Yemen was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and its union with the north in 1990.

A secession attempt four years later sparked a brief civil war that ended with northern forces taking over the south.

“Two fighters with the Southern Resistance were killed and three were wounded” in Thursday’s exchange of fire with the soldiers, the activist added.

Tensions are high in Daleh province since tank fire killed 19 mourners at a funeral tent in the town of the same name on December 27, with militants staging several attacks.

Support for renewed independence in south Yemen runs deep in Daleh.