Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Who is behind kidnapping and killing Yemen's foreigners

By Nasser Arrabyee 16/06/2009

The Yemen rebels' leader, Abdul Malik Al Houthi called his supporters to stage a demonstration on Wednesday for condemning the kidnapping of nine foreigners after finding three of them dead.

"This dreadful crime concedes dangerous conspiracy against Yemen in general and Sa'ada in particular," said a statement by Al Houthi who was accused by the government of kidnapping the nine foreigners.

The governor of Sa'ada Hassan Mana'a on his part, announced Tuesday a reward of five million Yemeni Rials (25,000 US$) for any information leading to the capture of the kidnappers.

No one until now claimed responsibility for the kidnapping which happened last Friday while the nine foreigners who work in a hospital in Sa'ada were picnicking at the outskirt of the city of Sa'ada.

The three dead bodies arrived from Sa'ada Tuesday to Sana'a from where they will be handed to their respective countries.

The three dead bodies of the women were found dead with their faces mutilated Monday by shepherds in the mountainous area of Akween, Neshoor valley, district of Al Safra, Sa'ada province.

They were identified two German nurses aged 25, 27, and South Korean teacher 22.

The remaining six people, German man, 35, and his wife, 30, and their two daughters, 2, 3, and son 4, as well as a British man, 45, are still missing until late Tuesday.

There is conflicting information about their fate, and who kidnapped them. Tribesmen from Sa'ada loyal to the government exchange accusations with tribesmen loyal to Al Houthi rebels. Senior local officials in Sa'ada told me they were optimistic about the six people who are likely 'still alive' and that they were exerting all efforts to rescue them. Some local sources say two children only were found alive.

And accusation fingers also point to Al Qaeda elements who are believed to be hiding in Al Jawaf province which is relatively close to the place where the three dead bodies were found.

Further more, the kidnapping on Friday came only two days after a senior Al Qaeda operative was arrested by the government. He was identified as Hassan Hussein Bin Alwan, Saudi national, and described as Al Qaeda main financer, and one of the most dangerous elements.

The mosque speaker from Sa'ada, Hafez Al Bani, accused international organizations working in Sa'ada including the medical mission with which the nine hostages worked, of doing missionary activities and preaching for Christianity. Although he condemned their kidnapping and killing.

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