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Kidnappings, Riots in Southern Yemen

Thousands of Yemeni supporters of the separatist Southern Movement demonstrate on December 12, 2010 in the southern Yemeni town of Daleh against a death sentence handed down the previous day for bombings that reportedly killed at least three people.

Officials in southern Yemen say gunmen kidnapped six soldiers in two separate incidents Saturday and Sunday after a court sentenced a man to death for twin bombings that killed three people in October.

The sentencing also sparked protests in the southern town of Dalea, where hundreds took to the streets and blocked traffic.

The court sentenced Faris Abdullah Saleh to death Saturday for his role in the bombing of a sports club in Aden. The attack was blamed on the Southern Movement, which is fighting for independence and increased autonomy for the south.

A Yemeni court also handed down prison sentences Saturday for 12 men tried on charges that included having ties to al-Qaida.

The court in the southern Hadramout province convicted the men of planning terrorist attacks and trying to join al-Qaida forces in Afghanistan, Somalia and Iraq.

Court officials say the men received sentences of up to seven years in prison.

Separately, an appeals court in Yemen's capital, Sana'a, upheld prison sentences of up to 10 years Saturday for seven alleged al-Qaida members. Authorities say the militants were linked to plots to carry out attacks on tourists.

Yemen intensified its campaign against al-Qaida after militants linked to the group claimed responsibility for a failed bombing attempt on a U.S. bound passenger plane last year.