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Al-Qaida in Yemen must release media workers immediately

14 October 2015

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today joined its affiliate, the Yemen Journalists´ Syndicate (YJS), in calling for the immediate release of three media workers kidnapped by Al-Qaida on Monday 12 October 2015. 

According to the YJS´s reports, Amir Bou Owaydan, a correspondent from Al Azal TV, Mohamed Al Makri, a correspondent from Yemen Al Yamw, and cameraman Akram al-Yamani were kidnapped in Mukalla city (in the Hadramout region) whilst they were covering a protest against the presence of al-Qaida in the city.

The IFJ has backed the local union in its condemnation of the incident and both organisations are demanding the immediate release of our colleagues as well as the protection of their lives.

Jim Boumelha, IFJ president, said:

"These latest kidnappings remind us that journalists have sadly become pawns in wider geopolitical fights.
"Once again, we stand by our Yemeni colleagues and their families in their daily suffering in their duty to report. We urge their captors to immediate release them and, in the meantime, to ensure their physical safety."

This is the first time that al-Qaida has taken reporters hostages in the country since 2013 when they kidnapped US photographer Luke Somers, who sadly lost his life last December during a failed attempt by the US Special Forces to release him.

Al-Qaida have not kidnapped any local journalist before.

Nine journalists have been killed so far in 2015 in Yemen, according to IFJ´s statistics, as a consequence of the fight between Houthi rebels and the Saudi-led coalition.

These three kidnapped media workers bring the total to 17 journalists and media workers who are believed to be held in the country, mostly by Houthi rebels. They include nine who were kidnapped by the rebels on Tuesday 9 June at a hotel in the capital, Sana’a, from which they were reporting.

The IFJ is extremely concerned about the deterioration of press freedom and the safety of media workers in Yemen. As a result, the International Federation of Journalists launched a campaign in September 2015 aimed to increase global awareness about the situation in the country. Read more about the campaign on the IFJ website:

End oppression and incitement against Yemen journalists - IFJ campaign

Tags: , ifj, yemen, yemeni journalists syndicate, safety, kidnapping, journalists detained, solidarity