Al Jazeera channel’s Arabic correspondent Hamdi Al-Bokari and his crew, journalist Abdulaziz Al-Sabri and driver Moneer Al-Sabai, have been released this morning, the Qatari cable news network said today. The crew went missing on 18 January in the city of Taiz, southern Yemen, while covering events. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes the safe return of the TV crew and urges the warring parties to do their utmost to protect media workers’ safety.
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 but is surrounded by rebel forces. Announcing their release, Al-Jazeera said that the journalists had been kidnapped by unknown gunmen, according to AFP.
“We welcome the release of our Al Jazeera colleagues,” said IFJ President, Jim Boumelha. “We remind the warring parties in Yemen that holding journalists captive amounts to a violation of international conventions and may lead to criminal responsibility.”
The IFJ, representing more than 600,000 journalists in the world, further notes that this incident was a reminder of the growing threat to journalists’ safety who are increasingly targeted for kidnappings in war zone, some of whom end up being killed while others remain missing for lengthy periods of time with no new of their whereabouts.
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The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 139 countries