Saudi envoy held by Al-Qaeda in Yemen makes new video plea

AFP , Thursday 18 Oct 2012

Al-Qaeda in Yemen release third video of kidnapped Saudi diplomat Abdullah Al-Khalidi pleading for his government to meet the kidnappers' demands

Saudi diplomat
Abdullah al-Khalidi, the Saudi deputy consul in the southern Yemeni port city of Aden, was kidnapped by Al-Qaeda outside his residence on March 28 (Photo: Reuters)

A Saudi Arabian diplomat held hostage in Yemen since March by Al-Qaeda has made a third video appeal to Riyadh to help secure his release, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

In the three minute, 57 second video, Abdullah al-Khalidi says the Saudi government took "a step in the right direction" when it freed some women from jail, "but it must release more prisoners," according to the US-based SITE, which monitors jihadist Internet forums.

Khalidi, Saudi's deputy consul in Yemen's southern port city of Aden, was abducted on March 28 by Al-Qaeda militants seeking to secure the release of female prisoners and to collect a ransom.

In the video posted online on Wednesday, Khalidi pleads with the Saudi authorities to meet the kidnappers' demands.

"I am a Saudi citizen who served the Saudi government in more than one place and more than one site. Don't I deserve to be released for some women and some sheikhs?" he asks.

Khalidi had made similar appeals on May 25 and again on July 1.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, the network's Yemen branch, claimed responsibility for Khalidi's abduction in April.

He is the third Saudi national to be kidnapped in Yemen in as many years.

Al-Qaeda has exploited the weakening central government in Sanaa to strengthen its presence in Yemen, launching deadly attacks against security forces, especially across the restive south and southeast.

Saudi Arabia itself witnessed a wave of deadly attacks by Al-Qaeda between 2003 and 2006, which prompted authorities to launch a crackdown on the local branch of the jihadist network founded by slain Saudi-born Osama bin Laden.

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