CAIRO (AP) — Yemeni police on Saturday arrested two suspects in the killing of a senior World Food Program official the previous day, authorities said.
Ten others were also detained for their alleged involvement in the killing of Moayad Hameidi, who had recently arrived in the country to take the post of the head of the World Food Program in the southwestern province of Taiz.
Taiz police did not provide further details.
On Friday, two gunmen riding on a motorbike shot Hameidi in the town of Turbah. He died shortly after reaching a hospital. The attackers fled the scene.
Hameidi, a Jordanian, was the latest aid worker to be killed in Yemen, which has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014. He had just arrived in Taiz a few days ago to assume his role as head of the WFP office in the province.
“The loss of our colleague is a profound tragedy for our organization and the humanitarian community,” said Richard Ragan, WFP’s director in Yemen. “Any loss of life in humanitarian service is an unacceptable tragedy.”
In a phone call with WFP Chief Cindy McCain, Yemeni Prime Minister Maeen Abdulmalik Saeed said the perpetrators would be held accountable for the “terrorist crime” they committed. He reiterated the government’s commitment to secure aid organizations working in the war-torn country.
Yemen has been embroiled in a civil war since 2014, when Iran-backed Houthi rebels swept across much of the north and seized the capital, Sanaa, forcing the internationally recognized government into exile.
A Saudi-led coalition entered the war the following year on the side of the government, and over the years, the conflict turned into a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, the Houthis’ main foreign backer.
Yemen’s conflict has created one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises and more than 150,000 people, including fighters and civilians, have been killed.
Taiz, Yemen’s third-largest city and the provincial capital, has been under a siege by the Houthis since 2016, as part of the country’s brutal conflict. The blockade has severely restricted freedom of movement and impeded the flow of essential goods, medicine, and humanitarian aid to the city’s residents.
In May 2021, an aid worker with the Oxfam charity died and another wounded when they were caught in crossfire in the country’s south.
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