AQAP Might be Involved in Abducting UN Workers in South Yemen


Sun, 13-02-2022 03:48 PM, Aden

Abyan (South24) 

Suspected al-Qaida militants have abducted five U.N. workers in [South] Yemen, Yemeni officials said on Saturday, according to the Associated Press.

The officials said the workers were abducted in the Southern governorate of Abyan late Friday and taken to an unknown location. They include four Yemenis and a foreigner, they said.

Local sources informed "South24" on Friday evening that gunmen stole two cars belonging to an international organization and two vehicles of the pro-government local police, who were guarding the organization's delegation, near the city of Khedira in Abyan governorate.

"We are aware of this case, but for obvious reasons we are not commenting," United Nations spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in response to a question about the abduction. He did not elaborate.

Tribal leaders said they were negotiating with the abductors to secure the workers' release. They said the abductors demanded a ransom and the release of some militants imprisoned by the internationally recognized government.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief media and the tribal leaders did so for fear of reprisals.

The STC, which controls much of [South] Yemen […] and is at odds with the Yemeni government, condemned the abductions as a "terrorist operation."

The Yemeni government confirmed that the workers with the U.N. Department of Security and Safety were abducted by unknown armed men, adding that it was working to secure their release. It didn't provide further details.

Abductions are frequent in Yemen, an impoverished nation where armed tribesmen and al-Qaida-linked militants take hostages to swap for prisoners or cash.

Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP, has long been considered the global network's most dangerous branch and has attempted to carry out attacks on the U.S. mainland.

Yemen has been convulsed by civil war since 2014, when the Iran-backed Houthi rebels took control of the capital, Sanaa, and much of [... North], forcing the internationally recognized government to flee to [South], then to Saudi Arabia.

A Saudi-led coalition entered the war in March 2015, backed by the United States, to try to restore President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi to power. 

Source: AP, South24 
Photo: Saleh al-Obeidi/AFP

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