Oil Report

Series of small blasts hit city in southern Yemen

ADEN, Yemen, March 16 (Reuters) - A series of small blasts hit Yemen’s main southern city of Aden late on Monday, prompting a heavy deployment of government troops, a local official said.

Sanaa is struggling to contain growing violence in the south, where a restive secessionist movement is seeking independence from the rule of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

The government has also launched air strikes in recent days against what it says are al Qaeda militants in the southern part of the country.

The explosions late on Monday evening were likely caused by firebombs, a local official told Reuters on Tuesday, describing the perpetrators as “saboteurs”. Local media attributed the blasts to grenades or locally made explosives.

Witnesses told southern news website Sahwa Net that residents heard five blasts in different parts of the city between 10:30 p.m. and 11 p.m. local time.

There has been an escalation of violence in southern provinces in recent weeks as protesters, often armed, clashed with security forces, leading to numerous deaths and injuries on both sides.

North and South Yemen united in 1990, but many in the south -- home to most of Yemen’s oil industry -- complain northerners have seized resources and discriminate against them. (Reporting by Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden and Mohamed Sudam in Sanaa, writing by Raissa Kasolowsky; editing by Noah Barkin)