UNDP expert kidnapped in Yemen

A street scene in Sana'a, Yemen. An expert working for the U.N. Development Program has been abducted in the country. Photo by: Sallam / CC BY

 Negotiations are under way for the safe release of a Norwegian aid worker abducted by tribesmen in Sanaa, Yemen, early Sunday (Jan. 15).

In a report from CNN, tribal sources said the Yemeni government has sent three negotiators for the release of the aid worker, whom deputy U.N. spokesman Eduardo del Buey said was an expert for the U.N. Development Program. Del Buey said the tribe — which is in contact with the United Nations — has made assurances that the victim is safe and in good health.

The kidnapping took place just three miles south of the presidential palace, said to be one of the busiest and most secure neighborhoods in Yemen. Reports said six armed men forced the aid worker into a vehicle and drove him off to Mareb province, about 170 kilometers north of the capital, Sanaa. The kidnappers are reportedly demanding for the release of Ali Nasser Hareekdan, the suspect responsible for the killing of four Yemeni soldiers guarding oil tankers.

A Yemeni Interior Ministry official, who requested anonymity, told CNN the victim is part of the a team of U.N. observers scheduled to oversee the presidential elections in the country in February.

This is the latest attack against aid workers in conflict-torn Yemen. In November last year, a French national and two Yemenis working for the International Committee of the Red Cross were taken captive by a militant group seeking independence for southern Yemen. The three were freed two days after.

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About the author

  • Ravelo jennylei

    Jenny Lei Ravelo

    Jenny Lei Ravelo is a Devex Senior Reporter based in Manila. She covers global health, with a particular focus on the World Health Organization, and other development and humanitarian aid trends in Asia Pacific. Prior to Devex, she wrote for ABS-CBN, one of the largest broadcasting networks in the Philippines, and was a copy editor for various international scientific journals. She received her journalism degree from the University of Santo Tomas.