Three Aljazeera Arabic news staff are believed to have been kidnapped in the city of Taiz in southern Yemen. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) and its affiliate the Yemeni Journalists’ Syndicate (YJS) demand their immediate release and call on the warring parties to do their utmost to protect journalists’ safety and enforce security measures for media professionals on the ground.
According to Al Jazeera, its Arabic correspondent, Hamdi Al-Bokari and his crew, journalist Abdulaziz Al-Sabri and driver Moneer Al-Sabai, were last seen on January 18 . The team was covering events in the besieged city of Taiz, Yemen’s second most populated city which is controlled by Yemeni forces and armed groups loyal to Yemeni president and is surrounded by rebels forces.
Journalist Hamdi al-Bokari, a Yemeni national and a member of YJS executive board, was last seen around 10pm on Monday in the centre of the war-torn city, Al Jazeera Arabic reports.
IFJ President Jim Boumelha said: “ We demand the immediate release of the AlJazeera crew. A handful of journalists are risking their lives on a daily basis to tell the world what is happening in Yemen. We are very concerned that our colleagues may have been the target of malicious attempts to silence the press once again in the country. We relentlessly call on warrying parties in Yemen to do their utmost to protect media professional’s safety on the ground.”
The YJS expressed its deep concerns about the fate of the AlJazeera team. “ The political and rebels leaderships are responsible for the lives of our two colleagues Hamdi al-Bokari and Abdulaziz Al-Sabri. We ask them as well as the governor of Taiz Ali Mamari to take a clear position about the incident and seek to release our colleagues. Journalists must not be considered as warrying parties. We recall that 13 journalists are still detained by the Houthi group and al-Qaeda , and we demand their immediate release too.”
The abduction comes just days after Yemeni journalist Almigdad Mojalli was killed on 17 January in an air raid by the Saudi-led coalition in the capital, Sana’a.
Earlier this month, the well-known journalist Nabel Subaye writing for several national newspapers escaped a murder attempt on 2 January in Sana’a. Yemen remains one of the most dangerous countries for journalists in the world. According to IFJ statistics, at least 10 journalists were killed last year in the country.
On January 29 and 30 , the IFJ and YJS will hold an international conference in Amman, Jordan, to discuss the media safety crisis in Yemen and strengthen solidarity with Yemeni journalists.
For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 16
The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries