Deaths as Yemeni chopper shot down

Yemen+Image06 August 2013, News Wires – Helicopter which was inspecting blown-up oil pipeline downed by gunfire, reports say.

Eight people are said to have died in Yemen after tribesmen reportedly shot down a military helicopter surveying an oil pipeline which was blown up last week.

The tribesmen in the central Maarib province are reported to have returned fire on the helicopter which had fired rockets at gunmen thought to have been involved in last week’s pipeline blast.

One report says eight occupants of the helicopter were killed with another just reporting that the pilot had died following the crash.

Last week tribesmen blew up Yemen’s main oil export pipeline, halting the flow of crude.

The pipeline started pumping crude again last week after repairs that took several days, following a similar attack by tribesmen. Earlier this year, the pipeline was pumping about 125,000 barrels per day.

Yemen, which relies on crude exports to bolster foreign currency reserves and finance up to 70% of government spending, has seen frequent bombings of the key pipeline in central Maarib province since early 2011.

Disgruntled tribesman have been pressing a range of financial and other demands on the government, including the release of at least one prisoner taken by security forces.

Yemen is also currently at the centre of a much wider security scare as the US and UK warn citizens in the country to get out immediately following warnings of a possible terrorist attack.

The US some days ago issued a wide-ranging alert to citizens in Arab countries. It subsequently transpired that telephone conversations between the leader of al Queda and the terrorist organisation’s franchise in Yemen had triggered the alert.

– Upstream

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