- MOHAMMED GHOBARI and AZIZ EL YAAKOUBI
Gunmen in Yemen abducted two foreign employees of Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) in the eastern governorate of Hadramaut, a security source and two other local sources said.
The medical charity told Reuters it had lost contact with some of its employees in Yemen and could not share further details at this time out of concern for their safety.
A Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF – Médecins Sans Frontières) logo is seen on the back of an employee during a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination campaign for migrants and homeless people organized by the association in Paris, France, on August 26, 2021. PHOTO: Reuters/Sarah Meyssonnier
The security source said the employees were a German and a Mexican and were taken from their car by gunmen whom security forces suspected of being linked to al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.
Islamist militant groups are among many destabilizing forces in war-torn Yemen grappling with a humanitarian crisis.
In February, five United Nations personnel, including four Yemenis, were abducted in Abyan governorate by gunmen believed to be also linked to al-Qaeda.
The militant group operates in the southern and eastern regions of Yemen, which has been divided by a seven-year war between the Saudi-backed government based in the south and the Iran-aligned Houthi movement in the North.
Al-Qaeda took advantage of the chaos of the 2011 Arab Spring in Yemen and the ousting of a transitional government from the capital, Sanaa, by the Houthis in 2014 to create mini-states, but were pushed back following the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition in the war against the Houthis.
The group was also the target of US airstrikes.