Tribesmen kidnap UN employee in Sana’a

Published on 16 January 2012 in News
Ali Saeed (author)

Ali Saeed


SANA’A, Jan. 15 — Tribesmen from Marib's Ubaida tribe kidnapped a Norwegian United Nations worker near the premises of Sana'a's United Nations Development Program (UNDP) offices on Sunday morning.

The hostage was named on twitter as Gert Danielsen.

Naji Al-Sharif, a local tribal leader in Marib who works at promoting peace in Yemen's northern tribal regions, told the Yemen Times that a number of “local leaders are doing their best to secure the peaceful release of the hostage.”

Representatives of the Ubaida tribe have demanded that the government free Ali Naser Hariqdan, a fellow tribesman. Hariqdan was detained by Yemeni border guards earlier this month before being sentenced to death, said Al-Sharif.

“He [Hariqdan] opened fire on a military vehicle in Marib four months ago. Two soldiers were killed and three others injured, but he then fled to Saudi Arabia,” added Al-Sharif.

After Hariqdan was transferred to the Central Prison earlier this month in Sana’a, his tribe blocked the Marib-Safir Road, preventing oil, propane gas and diesel supplies from reaching Sana’a last week in an effort to free their imprisoned relative.

“Local tribal mediation worked at lifting the road block, but they went on to Sana’a and abducted the UN worker, continuing to demand the release of their son,” Al-Sharif said.

A UNDP source (United Nations Development Program) in Sana’a confirmed to the Yemen Times that one of their employees had been kidnapped.

“The lack of a strong state and the absence of immediate justice are behind such incidents taking place in Yemen,” Al-Sharif concluded.