Saudi Arabia offers money for diplomat’s release
The two were separately abducted in March.
Abrahat was transferred from Azzan, in Shabwa, to Ja’ar a month ago, the source said. She was then moved to Hadramout because she could not adjust to the food she was given while held at Al-Maraqisha Mountain. According to the source, living in a small village in Hadramout is easier for her than living with a nomadic family in Abyan.
The source said Saudi intelligence is doing its best, in cooperation with tribal sheikhs, to free the kidnapped consul.
He said Saudi intelligence offered SR five million to Al-Qaeda for his release, plus an additional SR one million for the mediators and those who secure Al-Khalidi’s release.
Ansar Al-Sharia, an Al-Qaeda-affiliate, has released all captives held during the conflict in Abyan except for the Swiss woman and the Saudi consul.
Local newspaper Al-Shara reported that a source close to Ansar Al-Sharia said Saudi intelligence officers met with some Al-Qaeda leaders. The former said Saudi Arabia is embarrassed to publicly comply with Al-Qaeda’s demands to release Al-Qaeda prisoners in Saudi Arabia in exchange for the return of their kidnapped consul.
The source said Saudi officers paid visits to Ataq, the capital of Shabwa governorate, multiple times to negotiate with Al-Qaeda. The meetings were organized by tribal figures.
Some local and regional media outlets reported that the Saudi consul was killed along with four others last month in the house of the general security manager in Zinjibar district. However, the governor of Abyan, Jamal Al-Aqil, denied the reports.
Al-Aqil told the state-run Saba News Agency that reports detailing the killing of the Saudi consul in Zinjibar district are untrue, and the bodies of those killed are Yemeni.
The Swiss woman was kidnapped by armed tribesmen in mid-March in Hodeida and on April 2 was handed over to Al-Qaeda militants in Shabwa.
In April, Ansar Al-Sharia also kidnapped a French aid worker working for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Aden.
Last week, some media outlets reported the murder of Hussein Saleh Al-Yazeedi, an advisor to the head office of the ICRC in Aden while negotiating with Ansar Al-Sharia for the release of the abducted doctor.
Reports indicated Al-Yazeedi was killed after a U.S. airstrike killed 13 Al-Qaeda members in the Al-Mahafid district north of Abyan.
However, ICRC’s spokeswoman in Yemen, Deeba Fakhr, said Al-Yazeedi was not involved in the negotiating process to release the hostage.
An ICRC statement read that the committee was shocked by Al-Yazeedi’s death. He working on humanitarian projects in the north of Abyan.