News Column

Central Bank of Yemen demands urgent action to free kidnapped employees

May 6, 2014

SANA'A, April 30—The syndicate of the Central Bank of Yemen (CBY)  on Wednesday called on the government and security forces to step up efforts to release four CBY employees and a Finance Ministry worker who were abducted in Al-Jawf by armed tribesmen on April 17.

CBY workers in Al-Jawf went on strike on April 20 and the syndicate is threatening to extend the strike to CBY branches throughout the country if it does not receive a response from the government.

"If we get no reply or any serious steps taken for the release of our colleagues by the end of the coming week, we will move the strike to the headquarters, and then to the other branch offices all around the country," said Aref Al-Salami, representative of the CBY syndicate.

Abdussalam Al-Aji, one of the kidnappers who spoke to the Yemen Times on the phone, said that they demand better services and an end to government corruption. He said that they have put other demands to the authorities which they would not disclose to the press.

"We kidnapped those five employees of the Central Bank as we couldn't reach the governor whom we accuse of corruption," said Al-Aji. The kidnappers intend to put pressure on  Mohammed Bin Salim Abboud, the governor of Al-Jawf, to satisfy their demands. They say that they initially sought to kidnap the governor himself.

Rasheed Al-Barakani, deputy president of the syndicate, said that employees are afraid that kidnapping CBY workers will come to be seen as an easy way for tribesmen to get their demands heard.  

"If we arrive at a deadlock and get no response, we will have to move the strike to the main branches of the bank and I am sure all employees will cooperate as this could happen to any of them if this kidnapping goes unpunished," he added.

According to Talal Al-Azzani, the Al-Jawf governor's secretary, the bank closure means that government employees are unable to receive their monthly salaries which are due at around this time.

The hostages, who are originally from Taiz, were traveling from Al-Jawf to Sana'a when they were kidnapped.

Speaking to the Yemen Times over the phone, Waleed Mejalli, one of the five kidnapped individuals, said "it was about 12pm... when we drove through Al-Khalq district and were threatened by two gunmen and told to get out of the Toyota Hilux we were in. We were led to another place where we saw the rest of the kidnappers."

Al-Azzani said that the abductors names have been blacklisted and security forces are searching for the culprits. He added that the governor does not intend to negotiate with the kidnappers as that would encourage kidnapping as a means of raising grievances.

The kidnappers, however, say that they want to deal directly with the governor himself.

"Soon the governor will have much pressure on him as he will have to deal with the angry people whose wages won't be paid because of the fact that the bank has shut down," said Al-Aji.

Mejalli said that the CBY deputy manager gathered the families of the hostages at the Central Bank in Al-Jawf on Sunday and together they sent a demand to the deputy governor to take urgent action to set the hostages free.

He said that the governor sent an "odd response" informing them that no military action would be taken for the sake of the hostages and their families.

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Source: Yemen Times

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