Archive for Yemen
A splinter group of Al Qaeda said that it fired a rocket that landed near the United States Embassy in Sana, wounding several guards, to retaliate for what it said was an American drone strike in a northern province of Yemen. The State Department said that it had no indication that the embassy was the target of the attack, and that none of its staff members were wounded. The rocket landed about 200 yards from the heavily fortified embassy, near members of the Yemeni special police force who guard the site. At least two were wounded, the police said. It was fired from a car using a M72 light antitank weapon, a police official said. Several hours after the attack, Ansar al-Shariah, an affiliate of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said on its Twitter account that it had targeted the embassy with a rocket, wounding several guards and damaging a vehicle. The group said the attack was an act of revenge for a drone strike that had seriously wounded children in the northern province of Al Jawf.
The US State Department ordered some of its diplomats and other government workers at the US embassy in Yemen to leave the country because of deteriorating security amid unrest and sectarian clashes that have left Shia rebels in control of the capital. “The Department of State ordered a temporary reduction in the number of US government personnel in Yemen,” the department said in a statement. “We are taking this step out of an abundance of caution and in response to recent political developments and the changing, unpredictable security situation in Yemen.” A separate travel warning for US citizens said the step was taken “due to the continued civil unrest and the potential for military escalation.” It said the embassy in Sana’a would remain open with a majority of staff remaining and that the relocation of staff would be temporary.
A top Tehran official says the Yemeni government is responsible for the abduction of an Iranian diplomat last year. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian criticized the Yemeni government’s inaction on Nour Ahmad Nikbakht’s arrest, adding the kidnapped Iranian diplomat is now being held in a security prison of the Yemeni government. He, however, said that received updates from Sana’a are in contradiction with what Yemeni authorities have told Iran about the abducted diplomat. Iran will pursue efforts to secure the diplomat’s release, the official said, reiterating that Nikbakht is in good health. Nikbakht was on his way to work from his home in the diplomatic quarter of the Yemeni capital, Sana’a, on July 21, 2013 when unidentified gunmen blocked the road, forced him out of his vehicle and abducted him. He has been detained in Yemen for more than a year.
Saudi Arabia issued orders to shut down its embassy in Sana’a and evacuate Saudi nationals from Yemen, due to the country’s volatile security situation. “Orders were given to shut down the Saudi embassy in Sana’a and evacuate all officials and employees in the embassy until the situation in Yemen improves,” the Saudi newspaper Al-Watan cited an anonymous high-ranking Saudi diplomat as saying. “The charge d’affairs [acting ambassador] at the Saudi Embassy to Yemen, Haza’a Al-Mutairi, along with 50 other Saudi nationals working in the embassy left Sana’a,” said the diplomat. The embassy’s closure follows growing tensions between the Yemeni government and Houthi protesters in Sana’a who are calling for a new government and the reinstatement of fuel subsidies. The closure of the embassy affects Yemeni residents who want to get visas to work in Saudi Arabia.
American citizens are alleging they’ve have had their passports revoked for various reasons at the American embassy in Sana’a since 2012. The reasons behind the revocations are unclear. The State Department alleges that some of the passports were issued fraudulently, sometimes claiming the individual had another name or alias before coming to the US. Campaigners say that in some cases the name in question seems to have been made up at the embassy, and in others was the result of a discrepancy rooted in a Yemeni tribal name, which is often three or four words long and is sometimes altered in the American naturalization process. A coalition of nine civil rights and community organizations, including the Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus and the American Civil Liberties Union in California last week submitted a report to the United States Human Rights Network. The report alleges that American citizens have had their passports revoked without due process; many say they have been subjected to coercive interrogations. In most of the cases documented in the report, Yemeni Americans were visiting the US embassy in Sana’a to file routine travel paperwork. Some American citizens have been stranded in Yemen for up to a year.
An Iranian embassy staffer who was abducted in Sana’a back in July, 2013, is in good health and will be released soon, said Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for African and Middle Eastern Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian. Extensive efforts have been made to help release Nour Ahmad Nikbakht, Amir Abdollahian said. Back in May, Amir Abdollahian vowed to pursue the fate of the kidnapped diplomat and left for Yemen to consult with Yemeni foreign minister and security officials on the issue. On July 21,2013, a group of armed men kidnapped Nikbakht in Yemeni capital of Sana’a at gunpoint, and took him to an unknown location. In late January, a decapitated body was found in central Yemen which was believed to belong to Nikbakht. However, Tehran denied reports that the body was the Iranian diplomat’s.
Four persons who introduced themselves as police officials tried to kidnap the Yemeni embassy’s deputy head of mission Dr Abdul Rab Abubakar Bingabr from his residence here on Sunday, but fled following resistance put up by the diplomat and his family. According to sources, the men rang the doorbell of Dr Bingabr’s house in sector G-10 at about 2am and introduced themselves as policemen, but could not tell the reason of their visit. The diplomat got suspicious and started shouting. He also called his neighbours for help and asked his son to bring a weapon and shoot the suspects. Meanwhile, doors of the neighbouring houses opened and the suspects ran towards their car parked on the roadside and sped away. The diplomat had been receiving threats from a group and some men had broken into his house and taken away his car last year. He had informed the Foreign Office several times about the threats but security had not been provided to him.