(MENAFN - The Journal Of Turkish Weekly) Two NGOs are calling for the release of an Al Jazeera journalist believed to have been kidnapped in war-torn Yemen.
Last week Qatar’s Al Jazeera television network said it had lost contact with its chief correspondent in Yemen Hamdi al-Bokari and his two-member crew. The trio had been covering the ongoing conflict between Saudi-led forces and the Shia Houthi militant group in Yemen's western Taiz province when they disappeared. Two NGOs believing the three were kidnapped by an armed group are now calling for their release. "We condemn the abduction of Bokari and his crew and call for their release" the Cairo-based Arab Network for Human Rights Information said in a statement. The Paris-based Reporters Without Borders (RSF) organization for its part denounced the mounting dangers faced by media personnel in war-torn Yemen. "The situation for journalists is becoming extremely worrying in an increasingly hostile environment for freedom of information" Alexandra El Khazen head of RSF’s Middle East desk said in a statement. "We remind all parties to the conflict [in Yemen] that they are responsible for the safety of journalists and that crimes of violence against them must not go unpunished" the NGO said. "RSF also calls for the release of all journalists and media workers held by armed groups" it added. According to RSF 17 journalists and media workers are currently being held captive by armed groups in Yemen. Yemen ranks 168th out of 180 countries in RSF's 2015 press freedom index. Yemen has remained in turmoil since late 2014 when the Shia Houthi militant group overran capital Sanaa and other parts of the country forcing President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi and his government to take up temporary residence in Saudi capital Riyadh. In March Saudi Arabia and its Arab allies began an extensive air campaign aimed at reversing Houthi gains in Yemen and restoring Hadi’s government. According to UN figures some 5700 Yemenis have been killed since the Saudi-led military campaign began.