Two protesters were shot dead by government forces in eastern Yemen on Wednesday, according to a senior security official.
Local residents staged a protest against a decision to erect a security checkpoint in Haswain, west of Mahra province, the official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to media.
He said the protest developed into an armed clash during which security forces opened fire, killing two and injuring four others, the official said.
Mahra governor Rajeh Bakrit, for his part, said on Twitter the security checkpoint came under fire from “outlaws and traffickers”, backed by Houthi rebels.
“They have been dealt with firmly,” he said, vowing to “strike with an iron fist against whoever tampers with security and stability of the homeland”.
The government-controlled Mahra province has the longest coast in eastern Yemen with 560 kilometers on the Arabian Sea.
Since 2014, when Shia Houthi rebels overran much of the country, impoverished Yemen has remained wracked by violence and turmoil.