A suicide car bomb driven by a suspected Al-Qaeda fighter has rammed into a building in south Yemen used by pro-government armed men, killing 12 of them, a member of the group and medics said.

Leading members of the armed group were holding a meeting in the building which is a government office, when the attack occured on Monday, a member of the armed group that have fought the fighters alongside the army said.

"A suicide car bomber from al-Qaeda managed to reach the office of the Popular Resistance Committees in Loder, and detonated the explosives at the gate," he added.

"Twelve bodies were brought to the morgue," said a medic at a local hospital.

An unspecified number of people were wounded, witnesses said.

Al-Qaeda fighters were driven out of most of the cities in Abyan province, including Loder, in June last year in an all-out offensive by government forces aided by the resistance committees.

The fighters had taken advantage of the weakness of Yemen's central government during an uprising in 2011 against now-ousted president Ali Abdullah Saleh to seize large swathes of territory across the south, including most of Abyan province, which they controlled for a year.

Yemeni forces continue to hunt al-Qaeda fighters, aided by US drone attacks that target wanted members hiding in the vast rugged terrain of the southern Arabian Peninsula country.

Source: Agencies