Top separatist dead in south Yemen

Top separatist dead in south Yemen
Young Yemeni protesters walk past burning tires during a demonstration demanding renewed independence in the southern city of Aden on December 15, 2014.

ADEN - A separatist activist was shot dead in southern Yemen Monday as secessionists staged a day of civil disobedience, witnesses and activists said of a killing Amnesty International called an "execution".

Khaled al-Junaidi, a prominent figure in the Southern Movement, was shot in the chest when security forces opened fire while trying to arrest him, activists told AFP.

Junaidi was released from prison earlier this month after serving five months for separatist activities, and had been preparing to take part in Monday's day of action, witnesses said.

Amnesty called on the authorities to investigate his killing, describing it as an "extrajudicial execution".

"Yemeni authorities have an obligation under international law to ensure that an independent, impartial and prompt investigation into this killing is conducted, and that all those responsible are brought to justice, including anyone who ordered the killing," Amnesty's deputy regional director Said Boumedouha said in a statement.

The London-based watchdog said five masked security officers ordered Junaidi out of his car, and one of them shot him.

They then drove Junaidi to a nearby hospital and left him at the entrance, it added.

Most businesses and schools in Aden were closed in response to the call for the demonstration to demand the secession of the formerly independent south.

South Yemen became independent after the end of British colonial rule in 1967, before it joined the north in 1990.

Since mid-October, the Southern Movement has staged a sit-in in central Aden to demand secession.

Elsewhere on Monday, a street vendor was shot dead by southern separatists in Hadramawt province in southeast Yemen, witnesses said.

The gunmen opened fire as the man, who was from north Yemen, failed to stop at a checkpoint, triggering a confrontation between the militants and other residents of northern origin.

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