Yemen Arrests 21 'Qaida Suspects' over Killings

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Yemeni authorities announced on Friday the arrest of 21 suspected members of al-Qaida in connection with the murder of five people in Bayda province, including two electoral officials.

The five were killed when gunmen opened fire on their car in Bayda, southwest of the capital, on Tuesday.

The army and security forces "arrested 21 suspected members of the al-Qaida terrorist network, among them the authors of this ignoble crime," said a defense ministry statement published by state news agency Saba.

Referendum-like elections will be held in Yemen on Tuesday to approve Vice President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi as a consensus president for a two-year term to replace President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is stepping down after a year of protests under a Gulf-brokered deal.

The people killed in Bayda included a Republican Guard officer responsible for electoral security, two soldiers and a civilian, the sources said.

On Thursday, dozens of people were hurt in clashes in southeast Yemen between rival demonstrators supporting and opposing the election.

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