- Ministry official: Clashes happened in four places in southern province of Dhaleh
- Ministry says 14 soldiers captured
- Resident: Bullets entered my home
- Numerous clashes have followed military's shelling of funeral tent in January
At least 12 people were killed in violent clashes between Yemeni troops and militants secessionists in the southern Yemeni province of Dhaleh on Tuesday, two Defense Ministry officials told CNN.
Among those killed were six troops and six militants. A top army colonel was among the government troops killed.
The Defense Ministry issued a statement in which it said that 14 soldiers were kidnapped by the secessionists. The ministry described the incident as a sabotage attack against a military supply truck.
Residents told CNN that artillery shelling started in the morning hours and continued until the evening.
"Bullets have entered through our home windows," said Saber Jamal, a resident in Dhaleh province.
A ministry official said that clashes with the militants took place in four different fronts in the province.
In January, the military shelled a funeral tent, allegedly by mistake, killing more than a dozen separatist supporters in Dhaleh.
Clashes in the province have taken place on numerous occasions since, killing more than 30 over the past month.
Earlier this month, the international community hailed Yemen's successes in the National Dialogue Conference, which aims to mainly solve the worries of southerners.
The dialogue was launched one month after President Abdurabu Hadi came to power in 2012.
Hadi took office as part of a internationally supported political deal that led to the ouster of former President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who departed a year after mass protests broke out.
But secessionists say NDC resolutions have failed to address the southern issue in a manner conducive to trust.
Political experts say that implementation of dialogue resolutions would need patience from all political sides.
"Security is tense and factions who stand against reforms in Yemen will attempt to spread chaos and destabilize the country, said Nabil al-Khamery, a senior Yemeni politician, told CNN.
"Political factions need to support the government and the transitional president Abdurabu Hadi as Yemen passes through this critical time," he added