Five United Nations staffers have been abducted in southern Yemen while returning to Aden after a field mission, the UN said on Saturday.
They were abducted on Friday in Abyan governorate, said Russell Geekie, a spokesman for the top UN official in Yemen.
“The United Nations is in close contact with the authorities to secure their release,” Mr. Geekie said.
UN Secretary General’s spokesperson Stephane Dujarric declined to comment on the matter saying that they are not commenting “for obvious reasons”, reported Al Jazeera.
The employees have been identified as four Yemeni nationals and one foreigner by the government and worked in the UN Department of Security and Safety, reported DW.
Among the abducted include Akem Sofiol, the director of the United Nations Office for Security and Safety in Aden, reported Anadolu Agency, quoting Adel al-Awsji, the security chief of Lauder directorate in Abyan province.
He told the outlet that the gunmen in the Suwayda area stopped the car in which the UN employees were commuting, and took them to an unknown location.
While a manhunt has been launched, DW reported that the abductors are demanding ransom money as well as release of militant’s imprisoned by the internationally recognised Yemeni government.
The country has been mired in violence since the Iran- aligned Houthi movement ousted the government in late 2014, following which military coalition led by Saudi Arabia intervened months later.
Al Qaeda and Islamic State are known to have carried out attacks in the south, destabilising the country, whose 80% of population is not reliant on aid. (Source: Independent UK)