Three Yemeni journalists and two other foreigners kidnapped by tribesmen
Yahia Saleh Al-Masmi, a tribal leader, took responsibility for the kidnapping and told the Yemen Times that the capturing was part of a plot to take revenge on the government, for what he said were outstanding grievances—including the killing of locals and destruction of property, caused by the state around two years ago in clashes between local tribesmen and military brigades.
Mohammed Al-Shamiri, a photographer, was one of those targeted for kidnapping, but was not captured. He was at the scene when the others were taken.
He told the Yemen Times he was on assignment driving with four other journalists when their vehicle came to a blocked road, in the Wadi Habab area near the Sewrah district. His car was stopped, and he and his colleagues were taken from the car.
Another one of the captives, Ahmed Al-Shamiri—no relation to Mohammed—spoke with the Yemen Times from captivity. He said he was being held in “a remote valley,” but could not be more specific.
“A car brings us food and we sleep on the ground,” Al-Shamiri said. “We don’t have mobile coverage.”
In exchange for the release of the captives, Al-Masmi is demanding financial compensation for each tribesman killed in previous bouts of fighting which took place in 2011, asking for YR20 million (about $100,000) per head.
Tribal mediations thus far have been fruitless.
Along with the journalists, one Russian, one Turk, and a Yemeni employee from Safer Oil company are also all being held by Al-Masmi.
Along with Al-Shamiri, Yaseen Al-Zkri of Suhail Channel, Ibrahim Al-Ashmori of Al-Thawra Newspaper and Ahmed Al-Shamiri from Okaz Saudi Newspaper are all being held by Al-Masmi.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate condemned the kidnapping, calling on the state to work to secure the release of the detainees.
Secretary-general of the syndicate, Marwan Damaj, called this kidnapping a “flagrant violation of the law.”