An Australian man who was confirmed to have been abducted by unknown assailants in October has appeared in a video asking his government to meet the demands of his unidentified kidnappers, terrorism monitor SITE Intelligence Group said yesterday.
The 12-second video, which was uploaded to a file sharing website, showed abductee Craig McAllister with a gun pointed at his head. He pleaded with the Australian government to meet the demands of his abductees, but did not mention who abducted him or where he currently is in Yemen. McAllister was taken hostage in the then Houthi-controlled city of Sana’a in September 2016 and said in a hostage video released in October that he had been working in Yemen as a football coach.
The Iran-backed Houthis are aligned with the deposed former Yemeni dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, and have been in control of Yemen’s capital Sana’a since September 2014. Upon the release of the video last year, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop confirmed McAllister’s kidnapping and announced that the Canberra government is trying to liaise with local and regional parties for his safe return. Australia does not have a diplomatic presence in Yemen, but the videos suggest that the kidnappers have at least made some form of contact with Australia with a list of demands. Yemen has been locked in a bitter battle between Shia Houthi fighters allied with forces loyal to ousted Saleh against government forces led by President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, along with local tribes and resistance forces backed by the Saudi-led coalition.