- Published on Wednesday, 11 January 2017 20:52
An Australian man has appeared in a new hostage video with the barrel of a gun pressed against his head, a U.S.-based monitor of militant groups said Tuesday.
Unidentified assailants kidnapped Craig McAllister, a 56-year-old football coach, in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, in September 2016. He appeared in an initial kidnap video in October. The group behind his kidnapping remains unknown.
According to SITE Intelligence, the 12-second video shows McAllister addressing the Australian government, the Yemeni Football Association and Yemen’s “Department of Youth and Sport,” saying that they must meet the demands of the captors "or they will kill me."
The video was uploaded to a file-sharing website on Tuesday, SITE said, although it was unclear when the footage was actually filmed. There was no mention of money in the video released on Tuesday.
In the 24-second October video, he said his kidnappers wanted money, but both they and McAllister have specified no figures for his release. “I have been working as a football coach...at the moment I am kidnapped by a group here,” he said in the video. “They are requesting that the Australian government send the money they have requested.”
Australian authorities are yet to comment on the new video but after the October footage, Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said the country was seeking to provide consular support to McAllister’s family.
McAllister’s assistant in Yemen, Abdullah al-Maghribi, said that he was coaching a youth team at Al-Ahli Sanaa football club for two years before being kidnapped, according to Australian news site news.com.au. He said that an Islamist group had kidnapped McAllister but did not elaborate.
The Australian newspaper reported that the assailants kidnapped McAllister during a training session, citing a member of the Al-Ahli team, but this remains unconfirmed.
Houthi rebels captured Sanaa in September 2014, forcing President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country. He has since returned to operate out of his traditional base, the southern city of Aden. A Saudi-led coalition is conducting a bombing campaign against the Shiite Iranian-backed rebels in the capital and other areas of its control in the country's north.
Foreign nationals remain a target for the myriad of actors in the Yemeni conflict. At least a dozen foreigners have been kidnapped since 2009 and, while many have been released unharmed, U.S. journalist Luke Somers and South African teacher Pierre Korkie died in December 2014 in a failed U.S. commando raid to rescue them from Al-Qaeda in the country’s southeast.
- Europe Newsweek