ADEN (Reuters) - Militant attacks on two army outposts in southern Yemen killed at least eight people early on Sunday, local officials said, two months after the government said it had cleared that area of al Qaeda fighters in an offensive.
Yemen, with help from the United States, is battling an insurgency by Islamist militants including members of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has also planned attacks on international airliners and other foreign targets.
The area of Mahfad in Abyan Province of southern Yemen was the scene of some heavy fighting in May between the army and militants in a government campaign to reclaim territory under effective AQAP control.
AQAP and other militants have since then continued to stage attacks in Abyan and other provinces.
On Sunday morning two outposts in Mahfad were attacked by men driving car bombs followed by shooting.
A bomb-laden car was driven towards each of the two outposts, but both exploded before reaching them after soldiers opened fire. There were subsequent exchanges of fire between militants and army members.
A local security official told Reuters two militants had been killed by explosions while driving the cars and another five in the later shooting. Four soldiers also died, he said.
Another local official said six militants and two soldiers had been killed. Both officials said the militants were with al Qaeda.
Reporting By Mohammed Mukhashaf in Aden; Additional reporting by Mohammed Ghobari in Sanaa; Writing by Angus McDowall; Editing by Angus MacSwan