Al-Qaeda’s branch in Yemen has threatened a British-born American hostage kidnapped in 2013, giving Washington three days to meet unspecified demands and denouncing US actions in the Arabian Peninsula country.
In a new three-minute video posted on Twitter account of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Thursday, the hostage was identified as 33-year-old freelance journalist Luke Somers who gave a somber statement in English, asking for help.
“It’s now been well over a year since I’ve been kidnapped in Sanaa,” Somers said. “Basically, I’m looking for any help that can get me out of this situation. I’m certain that my life is in danger. So as I sit here now, I ask, if anything can be done, please let it be done. Thank you very much.”
The footage apparently is synonymous to hostage videos released by al-Qaida’s rivals from the Islamic State group, which has threatened — and later beheaded — several American and British hostages in the aftermath of a summer blitz that captured much of Iraq and Syria. The IS fighters have at times battled al-Qaida and prompted defections among their rivals.
The video starts with a man, identified as al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula official Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, apparently threatening to kill Somers if the United States does not meet unspecified demands.
Somers was kidnapped in September 2013 from a street in the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, where he had worked as a freelance journalist for the Yemen Times.
Since his capture, Yemeni journalists have been holding sit-ins in Sanaa to press the government to seek his release.