Aden: Unidentified gunmen have shot dead an intelligence officer in Yemen’s southern Shabwa province, a security official said on Sunday.

The gunmen opened fire late on Saturday at State Security Colonel Ahmad Hashim in the city of Ataq before fleeing, the official said, adding that he died instantly.

Yemen sees frequent attacks on security forces, which are usually blamed on Al Qaida’s local affiliate, which remains active in southern and eastern regions despite successive government military campaigns.

The Arab world’s poorest country is also grappling with an increasingly violent separatist movement in the south, which was independent between the end of British colonial rule in 1967 and union with the north in 1990.