Yemen releases key southern separatist leader
Yemeni security authorities on Saturday released a key leader of the separatist Southern Movement, who has been in custody since November, an official of the Interior Ministry told Xinhua.
Hassan Baom, a key leader of the anti-unity Southern Movement in the province of al-Dhalee, was released on Saturday from the central jail in Ibb province, which is located north of al-Dhalee and some 193 km south of the capital Sanaa, the Sanaa-based official said on condition of anonymity.
He said the release came in the framework of general amnesty by President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
On Dec. 21, 2010, the Yemeni authorities freed 40 southern separatist activists in a jail in southern city port of Aden, a provincial security official told Xinhua.
Northern and southern parts of Yemen unified in 1990 under a deal between the People's General Congress and the Yemeni Socialist Party. However, the deal fell apart which led to a crisis between the two allies and turned into a civil war in 1994.
Sanaa has come under mounting pressure from Washington and the international community which asked the Yemeni government to solve its internal conflicts and focus on fighting Yemen-based resurgent al-Qaida regional wing.