Yemen newspaper staff abducted by gunmen

27 Mar 2018 / 22:44 H.

ADEN: Gunmen in Yemen's second city Aden have abducted at least seven staff of a newspaper group that was already hit by an arson attack earlier this month, a media watchdog said.
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said the Friday kidnappings from the group's headquarters in the southern city, which is the seat of the troubled Saudi-backed government, showed there was nowhere in Yemen where journalists could feel safe.
Unidentified armed men stormed the offices of the Al-Shomou Foundation, which publishes a daily and a weekly newspaper, and kidnapped the staff, the CPJ said.
The foundation is considered close to the Muslim Brotherhood.
"Journalists in Yemen would appear to be at risk everywhere — on the street, in their homes and their places of work," its deputy executive director, Robert Mahoney, said in a statement on Monday.
"The authorities must do everything to find those who have been kidnapped and return them safely to their families."
Sources at the group's daily, Akhbar al-Youm, said they believed the attack was "politically motivated".
Much of Aden has been in the hands of southern separatists supported by the United Arab Emirates since a deadly split in loyalist ranks in January.
The Brotherhood-dominated Al-Islah party, which has a military wing, has also been fighting alongside government loyalists elsewhere in Yemen against Shiite rebels who control the capital.
But it is strongly opposed by the UAE, which has trained pro-separatist brigades that have carried out several operations against Al-Islah as well as jihadists of both Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group.
Masked gunmen already stormed Al-Shomou's offices on March 1, torching its presses in mid print-run after herding staff outside.
At least 15 journalists have been killed in Yemen since 2015, when Saudi Arabia and its allies — including the UAE — intervened in support of the government in its fight against the rebels.
In late February, Yemeni journalist Awad Kashmim went missing in the government-controlled port city of Mukalla after criticising journalists who had aligned themselves with "regional parties".
Journalists have also gone missing in rebel-held areas.
Nearly 10,000 people have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led intervention began.
But as it enters its fourth year, the rebels remain in control of much of the north, including Sanaa, as well as the key Red Sea port of Hodeida. — AFP

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