A police vehicle patrols a street near the prison in Sana'a, Yemen. Picture: Hani Mohammed

Aden - A gunman killed a government security officer Thursday after following him into a restaurant in the coastal city of Mukalla and shooting him repeatedly, state news agency Saba quoted an official as saying.

The gunman and an accomplice then escaped on a motorbike after Sergeant Rashad al-Kaldi was killed in what the security official called a “cowardly terrorist act.”

Yemen sees frequent attacks on security forces, usually blamed on Al-Qaeda'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.