Aden: Nine people, including three soldiers, were killed on Monday when clashes broke out in southeastern Yemen`s rugged Hadramawt region, officials said.
The defence ministry initially said the fighting erupted when al Qaeda militants attacked an Army checkpoint, but the official SABA news agency later said it was a dispute between soldiers and a group of tribesmen, six of whom were killed.
Officials contacted by a news agency also denied the defence ministry`s report, saying the fighting broke out after a group of bodyguards escorting a tribal chief refused to hand over their weapons.
Clashes between security forces and tribesmen are more rare in southern Yemen than battles pitting troops against al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), the local affiliate of the global terror network founded by Osama bin Laden.
The group remains potent despite a string of military operations carried out by Yemeni forces and US drone strikes targeting its leaders.