Yemen soldier dies fighting pipeline saboteurs: Official

AFP , Thursday 13 Jun 2013

Yemeni soldier loses his life in skirmishes with tribesmen who attacked a 320-kilometre pipeline attacked Thursday dawn

A Yemeni soldier was killed in clashes Thursday with tribesmen who attacked an oil pipeline and halted the flow of crude, sources said.

The soldier was in a convoy escorting a technical team to the site of the attack in the Sarwah region, between Sanaa and Marib in the country's east, a security official said.

"Clashes broke out between the security forces escorting the technical team and armed tribesmen in the area, killing the soldier," said the official.

The team later managed to reach the pipeline and were busy repairing it, the source said.

Tribesmen at dawn attacked the 320-kilometre (200 miles) pipeline that links the Safer oil fields to the Red Sea port of Hodeida, tribal sources had told AFP.

Oil flow had "completely stopped", an industry official said earlier.

The pipeline has been hit repeatedly by saboteurs, with the last attack on May 24.

In December, the army launched an offensive against tribesmen suspected of being behind these attacks, sparking clashes in which 17 people were killed.

Electricity Minister Saleh Sumai has blamed loyalists of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh, who was forced to step down early last year after being in power since 1978.

Lost oil production due to pipeline attacks in the east cost the government more than $1 billion (746 million euros) in 2012, as exports fell by 4.5 percent, official figures show.

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