Al-Qaeda militants on Friday abducted and executed 15 Yemeni soldiers in the southeastern province of Hadramawt, a military official said.
The latest bloodshed comes a day after 11 suspected Al-Qaeda militants and four Yemeni soldiers were killed in attacks on two army posts in the restive province.
The soldiers were in a bus when they were ambushed “by an Al-Qaeda commando unit” near the town of Shibam, said the official. The men were taken to the nearby village of Huta and executed, the official added.
The men were on leave when they came under attack, the official said, adding that the army had sent reinforcements to Huta in search of the perpetrators.
Residents said four of the soldiers had their throats slit and the others were shot.
Before the public execution, the leader of the commando unit spoke to his men cheering them on before giving the order to kill the soldiers.
“It was a horrible massacre,” a resident, who would not give his name for fear of reprisals, told AFP. “We were horrified by such barbarous action.”
Friday’s attack is the latest in a line of assaults on the army in the Hadramawt region.
On Wednesday, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula claimed responsibility for many attacks on the army in the south and southeast of Yemen that have killed 20 soldiers.
AQAP is considered by Washington as the most dangerous affiliate of the jihadist network.
The group is active across several parts of Yemen, taking advantage of a collapse of central authority during a 2011 uprising that ousted veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh.
In late April, the army launched a ground offensive against AQAP in the southern provinces of Shabwa and Abyan.