Five Yemeni soldiers and three southern separatists died in a gun battle Tuesday in the city of Daleh, as secessionists mount their campaign against the Sanaa government.
A military official said that gunmen ambushed an army convoy near the office of the local government in the southern city, attacking the military vehicles with anti-tank rockets and automatic rifles.
They "killed five soldiers, including an officer, and wounded five others," the official told AFP.
A southern activist said that three of his comrades died in the clash.
Separatists demanding a full secession of the formerly independent southern regions had boycotted a national dialogue that agreed last month to turn the republic into a federation.
South Yemen was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and its union with the north in 1990.
Support for renewed independence in south Yemen runs deep in Daleh.