Bangladeshi UN worker in Yemen freed by Al Qaeda branch

Bangladeshi UN worker in Yemen freed by Al Qaeda branch

DHAKA: A Bangladeshi citizen working for the United Nations has been freed after a year and a half abduction by Al Qaeda in Yemen, the prime minister’s office said on Thursday.

“I never thought I would return home,” Akam Sofyol Anam told re­porters in Dhaka, following his return a day earlier on Wednesday, calling the last 18 months “horrifying”.

“I thought the terrorists might kill me anytime”, added Anam, a former army lieutenant colonel. “My days were miserable. There was a fear of death every day; it cannot be expressed in words — it is seen in films only.”

In February 2022, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) kidnapped Anam and four others as they returned to Yemen’s southern port city of Aden after a field mission while working for UN Department of Safety and Security.

Anam said that he was not physically tortured, but had often been kept blindfolded.

“I couldn’t see the sky for months,” he said, adding that he was moved repeatedly from place to place.

He said that he had “no idea how much money they wanted or what was their demand”, adding that he thought he had been “targeted as I was an UN official.” Anam “expressed his gratitude to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her role in rescuing him”, the premier’s office said, releasing a picture of the two meeting.

Four dead in attack

A bombing in southern Yemen on Thursday killed four fighters loyal to a secessionist force, including a prominent commander who previously survived assassination attempts by Al Qaeda, a security official said.

The roadside bomb detonated while their convoy was near the village of Mudiyah in Abyan province, said the source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

The convoy had been en route to a flashpoint area that has seen regular confrontations with Al Qaeda fighters.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the blast which killed Abdullatif al Sayyid, the commander of the Security Belt Forces in Abyan province.

The force, tasked with protecting southern regions of Yemen, is trained and equipped by the United Arab Emirates and has played a key role in the fight against militants.

It is loyal to Yemen’s secessionist Southern Transitional Council (STC), which confirmed Sayyid’s death in a statement.

Thursday’s bombing comes more than a week after a suspected Al Qaeda attack killed five soldiers in Wadi Omran in Abyan.



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