At least 30 members of Yemen's security forces are dead after an attack by militants allegedly affiliated to al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

The militants attacked in the southern province of Shabwa, using a combination of guns and bombs to devastate their targets.

Two bombs slaughtered around 20 people at a military base in al-Nashama. One bomb, concealed in a car, exploded as the driver attempted to enter the camp, while the other was already inside the camp when it exploded.

Gunmen also killed 10 members of a military patrol in the town of Mayfaa.

Officials think the attack was perpetrated by members of the AQAP, whose Yemeni operation is reportedly concentrated in Shabwa, a lawless hotbed of Islamist militancy. As well as jihadi training camps, many AQAP leaders are believed to be based in the region.

The province was under AQAP control from May 2011 until the summer of 2012, after militants took advantage of Yemen's political chaos to seize control of several towns. They were eventually forced to back down after the intervention of US-backed Yemeni forces.

Washington has launched scores of drone strikes in Yemen, where the AQAP thrives in vast areas largely outside the government's control. The group has attempted several attacks on the United States, including a failed bid to bring down a passenger plane by a man wearing explosives in his underwear and another to send bombs concealed in printer cartridges.