Insurgents linked to al-Qaeda on Saturday shot dead 19 government soldiers in an attack in southern Yemen, local residents said.
The soldiers were on their way to the eastern province of Mohra to get their salaries when the insurgents opened fire at them in the southern province of Abyan, they added added.
At least 20 soldiers were injured in the attack.
There was no official comment.
Several parts of Abyan, located around 427 kilometres south-east of the capital Sana’a, have been under the control of al-Qaeda militants for months now.
Al-Qaeda has taken advantage of Yemen's civil war between the Iran-allied rebels and forces of Saudi-backed President Abd Rabu Mansour Hadi to expand its presence in the impoverished country.
Yemen is home to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, seen as one of the terrorist network’s most active branches in the world.