Five UN employees kidnapped in Yemen’s Abyan

United Nations is in close contact with the authorities to secure their release

Aden: A United Nations official confirmed on Saturday that five UN staff members were kidnapped in Yemen’s turbulent southern province of Abyan.

Russell Geekie, the Senior Communications Advisor to the Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, said “the UN staff members were on the way back to Aden after having completed a field mission”, Xinhua news agency reported.

“The United Nations is in close contact with the authorities to secure their release,” he said.

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Meanwhile, local media outlets reported that unknown gunmen believed to be members of the Yemen-based al-Qaida branch intercepted a UN vehicle in Mudiyah district, east of Abyan province.

The gunmen kidnapped several UN workers and took them to an unknown location, according to the reports.

So far, no one has claimed responsibility for the kidnapping.

The Yemen-based al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) network, which mostly operates in eastern and southern provinces, has been responsible for many high-profile attacks against security forces in the country.

The AQAP has exploited years of deadly conflict between the Yemeni government and Houthi militia to expand its presence in some key areas of the war-ravaged Arab country.

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