He said the men were gunned down on the road between Loder and Moudia northeast of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province.
The attackers, who escaped after the killings, “are presumed to be in al-Qaeda”, he added.
The global jihadist network’s Yemen branch, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), is viewed by Washington as its most dangerous and has claimed repeated deadly attacks, including in the heart of the capital Sanaa.
Members of the Popular Resistance Committees, who are recruited from tribes, backed a government offensive that led to security forces retaking Abyan province in June 2012 after it was under AQAP control for a year.
AQAP had taken advantage of weakening central government control during a 2011 uprising that forced veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh from power to seize large swathes of southern and eastern Yemen.
The army has since regained control of most of the region’s main towns, but the jihadists still remain active in the countryside.