Suspected Al-Qaeda fighters have killed five Yemeni soldiers in an attack on a checkpoint southeast of Sanaa, according to an official, while two assailants have reportedly been killed.

The attack on Saturday targeted an army checkpoint in the district of Rada, where the interior ministry said it had mounted security measures late on Friday following intelligence about possible attacks by al-Qaeda fighters.

Five soldiers were killed and several others were wounded in the attack, the local government official told AFP news agency, adding that some assailants were also killed.

The news website, which is linked to the defence ministry, said two armed men died in the exchange of fire.

In other unrest, unidentified assailants suspected of being al-Qaeda fighters shot dead an army intelligence local chief in the southern city of Mukalla, a security official said.

Two armed men on a motorbike opened fire on Brigadier-General Ali Ahmed Abdelrazzaq outside his home in the coastal city, the official said.

Al-Qaeda loyalists seized large swathes of south and east Yemen in 2011, taking advantage of a decline in central government control during an 11-month uprising that forced veteran President Ali Abdullah Saleh from power in 2012.

Government forces have since recaptured much of the territory with support from US drone strikes, but the fighters retain bases in the desert east.

Meanwhile, thousands of separatists in south Yemen demonstrated in Aden to commemorate the 1994 war which ended with northern forces overrunning the south ending a secession attempt against the republic that was unified in 1990.

Source: Agencies