Sana’a: Two armed men on a motorcycle robbed public servants of millions of Yemeni riyals on Sunday in the south-eastern province of Hadramout.

In another incident, gunmen shot dead a senior army officer in the neighbouring Shabwa province, witnesses said on Sunday.

In Hadramout’s Ghail Bawazer district, residents told Gulf News that thieves intercepted a car belonging to the district’s government-run electricity company and stole 3.5 million riyals ($16,000) as the money was being moved to a local post office.

Residents said the armed men exchanged fire with the guards before fleeing with the money. The attack is the fourth targeting government banks in southern Yemen in less than a week.

On December 30, gunmen raided two banks in the southern port city of Sheher and stole around 52 million riyals ($240,000).

The Yemen government usually blames Al Qaida’s active branch in Sheher and Ghail Bawazer for such incidents. Army troops have raided many houses in the two cities and captured many militants in the past couple of years.

Taha Bafadel, a journalist from Ghail Bawazer, told Gulf News that Al Qaida no longer exists in his city and the consecutive looting cases are orchestrated by gangs.

“Al Qaida members vacated the city some time ago. We no longer see their faces. Armed gangs are spreading in the city exploiting the absence of local authority.”

In the restive Shabwa province, local sources said on December 30 that gunmen approached a car carrying money from the government-run CAC Bank in Mareb and stole about 25 million riyals ($116,000).

Also in the south, gunmen riding motorcycles on Sunday shot dead Colonel Humoud Hussain Al Tharhani, a senior army officer at 21 Brigade, in Shabwa.

The Ministry of Defence said on Sunday that suspected Al Qaida men looted the officer’s car after killing him.

Hundreds of army and intelligence officers have been assassinated in the last four years in drive-by shootings in many provinces across the country.

Yemen has plunged into a new wave of unrest since the Al Houthi rebels gained control of the capital and many other provinces and engaged in deadly clashes with Al Qaida militants in their bastions in the central Bayda province.