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Aden: Attackers on a motorbike shot dead two Yemeni policemen in the southern separatist bastion of Daleh overnight, a security official said Tuesday, just weeks after a truce was agreed.

The two attackers, one riding pillion, fled after gunning down the officers guarding the southern town’s police station, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

A third policeman was wounded in the shooting, which came less than three weeks after a March 13 prisoner exchange between southern separatists and the army was supposed to turn the page on months of deadly violence in and around the town.

In the deadliest incident, tank fire on a funeral tent for a slain separatist militant killed 19 mourners in Daleh on December 27.

The United Nations has expressed concern for the plight of more than 45,000 civilians it says are desperate need of humanitarian assistance in Daleh province.

It has urged both the separatists and the 33rd Armoured Brigade in Daleh to spare civilians and not launch attacks from populated areas.

On February 18, three civilians were killed in a firefight that also claimed the lives of seven soldiers and three separatists.

Last month’s prisoner exchange saw the release of 30 soldiers captured by the Southern Movement in return for 37 detained separatists.

The province is a stronghold of the hardline wing of the Southern Movement which demands renewed statehood for the formerly independent south.

The separatists rejected plans unveiled in February for six-unit federal Yemen in which Daleh would be part of the Aden region, one of two planned for the south.

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 but bloody civil war that ended with northern forces occupying the south.

Militants loyal to Al Qaida have also been active in the region, carrying out repeated hit-and-run attacks on the security forces.