Traffic moves slowly behind an army tank on a main road near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar
Traffic moves slowly behind an army tank on a main road near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar on June 14. An air raid killed a Yemeni Red Cross worker as he travelled in the country's south on Wednesday during a mission to help negotiate the release of a kidnapped colleague, a relative told AFP. © Mohammed Huwais - AFP/File
Traffic moves slowly behind an army tank on a main road near the southern Yemeni city of Zinjibar
AFP
Last updated: June 20, 2012

Air raid kills Red Cross worker in Yemen

An air raid killed a Yemeni Red Cross worker as he travelled in the country's south on Wednesday during a mission to help negotiate the release of a kidnapped colleague, a relative told AFP.

Hussein Saleh was killed as Yemeni warplanes were carrying out strikes on Al-Qaeda strongholds between the provinces of Abyan and Shabwa, according to the family member.

Saleh was in the region along with the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross in Aden to help secure the release of a French ICRC employee who was abducted in April, he added.

The ICRC Aden chief delegate was unhurt in Wednesday's raid, but another Yemeni staff member was wounded, said the relative, who declined to be identified.

The ICRC confirmed Saleh's death but said he was in the south on a humanitarian mission, adding that the circumstances surrounding his death were unclear.

"Mr. Saleh and three other staff members were assessing the humanitarian situation in the region, which has been severely affected by the recent fighting," a statement said.

"The circumstances behind this incident remain unclear," it added.

The head of the ICRC delegation in Yemen, Eric Marclay, added: "We are devastated by the tragic loss of our friend and colleague Hussein," who leaves behind a pregnant wife and four children.

Yemen's military launched a campaign in May against Al-Qaeda in the south which succeeded in ending more than a year of jihadist control over a string of towns and villages in Abyan and Shabwa provinces.

Earlier, a tribal chief said three suspected militants were killed and four wounded in an air raid targeting a group of Al-Qaeda fighters in a desert region between Abyan and Shabwa provinces.

On April 22, the ICRC said a French member of its staff was abducted in western Yemen. There has been no news of him since then.

More than 200 people have been abducted in Yemen in the past 15 years, many of them by members of the country's powerful tribes who use them as bargaining chips with the authorities.

Almost all of those kidnapped were later freed unharmed.

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