WFP staff member Moayad Hameidi (archive)

The Killing of a UN Employee Raises Security Issues in Taiz Again


Sat, 22-07-2023 12:36 AM, Aden Time

Taiz (South24) 

Yesterday, a staff member of the World Food Program (WFP) was killed by gunmen in the city of Turbah, south of Taiz governorate [a government-controlled area].

A statement by the WFP said that Moayad Hameidi, a Jordanian national, was shot dead by unknown gunmen on Friday afternoon. [1]

The statement indicated that Hameidi "had recently arrived in Yemen to assume his new role as the head of WFP’s office in Taiz".

The statement added: “The loss of our colleague is a profound tragedy for our organization and the humanitarian community. Those behind this attack must be brought to justice.”

In an official statement, today, Taiz police announced that they had arrested the perpetrators of the operation and 10 others who participated in it. [2]

The statement said: "We have arrested the perpetrators and more than 10 involved in the assassination of the WFP director in the city of Turbah."

Hours following the incident, Taiz police announced that they had identified those involved in the attack.

The statement said that the security services were able to identify the perpetrators by monitoring surveillance cameras in the area of the incident.

The security statement did not mention the names of the accused, but a security memorandum circulated by the Ministry of Interior included the name "Ahmed Youssef Al-Surra". [3]

The memorandum stressed the pursuit and track Al-Surra at military checkpoints and air, land and sea ports of the country.

It was not possible for "South24 Center" to verify the authenticity of the document and the name mentioned in it from the Ministry of Interior or police in Taiz governorate.

Local media said that the accused, "Ahmed Youssef Al-Surra," was wanted by security services in the capital city Aden for "terrorist acts". [4]

The media outlets accused Taiz military axis of releasing the accused years ago as part of an exchange deal with tribesmen who detained a security official.

"South24 Center" does not confirm or deny this information.

The state-run Saba news agency said Rashad Al-Alimi, the Chairman of Yemen's Presidential Leadership Council (PLC), had contacted the United Nations (UN) Secretary-General following the incident. [5]

Al-Alimi vowed to arrest the perpetrators, "whose identities have been identified by the security services in Taiz," according to the agency.

António Guterres described the incident as "terrorist", stressing that it will not affect the UN's humanitarian interventions in Yemen, according to "Saba".

In separate statements, the ambassadors of the Netherlands and Switzerland to Yemen condemned the incident.

Taiz governorate has been divided between the internationally recognized government and the Iranian-backed Houthi militia since 2015.

The incident sparked wide reactions. UN Envoy to Yemen Hans Grundberg condemned the killing of the UN official, in a statement published by his office. [6]

"We condemn the murder of Moayad Hameidi, a dedicated WFP worker, in Taiz earlier today," the statement said.

It added, "our deepest condolences go out to Moayad's family, friends, and colleagues. And we mourn his tragic loss with the humanitarian community in Yemen". [7]

US ambassador to Yemen Stephen Fagin said: " The United States condemns the killing of a WFP staff member in Yemen..".

The Southern Transitional Council (STC) condemned the incident in a statement by the official spokesperson Ali Al-Kathiri. [8]

The statement said, "The STC condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly terrorist operation [..] that led to the killing of the WFP staff member Moayad Hameidi and the wounding of others."

"We affirm that such criminal acts [...] do not proceed except from an extremist terrorist ideology that was previously warned against, and with an explicit reference to its hideouts and management and control rooms," the statement added.

The security services in Aden had announced earlier that the commander of the Yemeni Transport Brigade, Amjad Khaled, who resides in Al-Turbah, was involved in assassinations and bloody explosions. [9]

The Counterterrorism Services in Aden stated that Amjad Khaled and his affiliates financed and carried out "terrorist" operations that shook Aden in 2021 and 2022, in coordination with the Houthis. [10]

The Counterterrorism Services published video clips of the confession of defendants in cases that included the attempt to assassinate the Governor of Aden Ahmed Lamlas and the bombing in front of the gate of Aden Airport [killing and wounding dozens of civilians] in October 2021.

The confessions also included the assassination of the prominent military commander, Major General Thabet Jawas, in March 2022, and the attempted assassination of another military commander in May of the same year.

In statements published by the Yemeni Transport Brigade on Facebook, Amjad Khaled denied these accusations.

Amjad Khaled is an officer close to the Islamic Islah Party, who led the Transportation Brigade in Dar Saad district, north of the capital city Aden, years ago.

Khaled led the Transportation Brigade in a battle against the Southern forces in Aden in August 2019, which ended with the escape of several senior pro-Islah officials, including himself.

It is noteworthy that the WFP had announced a few days ago the arrival of 13,000 tons of rice to Aden International Port to help relive Yemeni families. [11]

According to the UN, the country is witnessing the worst humanitarian crisis in years as famine threatens millions of Yemenis in various governorates.

South24 Center 

TaizWFPAssassinationUN employeeSTCMoayad HameidiJordanNorth YemenPLCAmjad KhaledIslah