A car rigged with explosives carrying five men pulled up to a military base in the district of Mudiya in Abyan, the source told AFP preferring anonymity.
Four men wearing explosive belts ran out of the car toward the base, but were all shot dead before they could detonate, the source said.
The vehicle then exploded outside the base, killing the driver and four soldiers from a UAE-backed contingent in the Yemeni Army. Nine soldiers were also wounded.
Yemen’s southern provinces, including Abyan, are the site of a long-running US drone war against Al-Qaeda’s Yemeni branch.
Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) has flourished in the chaos of Yemen’s civil war. The US, the only government to operate drones over the impoverished country, considers AQAP to be the radical group’s most dangerous branch and backs the UAE-trained contingent in southern Yemen.