Al-Qaeda threatens to execute American journalist Luke Somers

2014-12-04 11:07

A United States journalist taken hostage last year has called for help and said his life was in danger in a video released by al-Qaeda in Yemen.

In the video dated December 2014, the hostage said his name was Luke Somers (33) and that he was kidnapped by the jihadist group more than a year ago in Sana’a, the Site Intelligence monitoring service reported today.

South African teacher Pierre Korkie was abducted by al-Qaeda militants in Sana’a in May last year with his wife Yolande, who was released in January.

Somers said he needed help and that his life was in danger.

The photojournalist was kidnapped in the Yemeni capital in September 2013, the US-based monitoring agency said citing reports.

The video features a message by Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, who threatened to kill Somers three days “after the issuance of this statement” if Washington failed to meet the group’s demands.

“Otherwise, the American hostage held by us will meet his inevitable fate,” he said, without elaborating on the demands.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula is considered by Washington as the terrorist group’s most dangerous affiliate.

A Yemen defence ministry website said last week that al-Qaeda moved hostages including an American journalist, as well as a Briton and a South African – presumed to be Korkie – days before a raid in southeastern Hadramawt province to free him.

Yemen is a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, and has allowed Washington to conduct a longstanding drone war against the group on its territory.

The militant group has exploited instability in the impoverished country since a 2011 uprising overthrew president Ali Abdullah Saleh.

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