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Al-Qaeda in Yemen release video of Bangladeshi UN worker

The United Nations headquarters building is seen on the East Side of Manhattan,in New York City, on June 8, 2021 [Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images]
The United Nations headquarters building is seen on the East Side of Manhattan,in New York City, on June 8, 2021 [Photo by DANIEL SLIM/AFP via Getty Images]

Al-Qaeda's Yemen branch have released a video on Saturday showing a UN worker who was abducted more than six months ago, according to a report by the US-based SITE Intelligence Group.

The video which was purportedly recorded on 9 August was released by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and featured Akam Sofyol Anam, who has been identified by SITE as a Bangladeshi national and the "director of the United Nations Office of Security and Safety in Yemen."

Anam was kidnapped along with four colleagues on 11 February while conducting a field mission in the southern province of Abyan. He is said to be facing "serious health trouble," SITE reported which includes heart problems requiring "immediate medical support and hospitalization."

In the video, the UN official called on "the UN, the international community, the humanitarian organizations, to please come forward… and meet the demands of my captors," though he stopped short of stipulating them.

READ: Yemen's HSA pledges $1.2m to UN drive to avert tanker oil spill

At the time of Anam and his colleague's abduction, UN spokesperson Eri Kaneko told AFP that "the United Nations is in close contact with the authorities to secure their release."

The footage released by AQAP comes just over a week since the UAE-backed southern separatists, the Southern Transitional Council (STC) announced a new military operation in Abyan province "to cleanse it of terrorist organisations."

The move is likely intended to expand their presence there following gains made in the neighbouring oil-rich Shabwa province against Islah Party forces who are fighting on behalf of the Saudi-based, internationally recognised Yemeni government. The province had also been an AQAP stronghold for years and in recent months there has been an uptick in attacks carried out by them against STC-affiliated forces. According to the South24 website, the increase in AQAP's attacks could be interpreted as a reaction towards the decline of the Islah Party's presence in the province.

READ: Taliban: Body of Al-Qaeda's Ayman Al-Zawahiri still undiscovered

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AfghanistanAsia & AmericasBangladeshInternational OrganisationsMiddle EastNewsUAEUNUSYemen
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