Condemnation for the killing of WFP official in Yemen

Moayad Hameidi, head of UN food agency's office in Taiz, was shot dead on Friday

Yemeni security forces on patrol in Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city. Authorities arrested a suspect in the killing of a World Food Programme employee in Taiz province on Saturday. AFP
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France has condemned the killing of a World Food Programme (WFP) employee in Yemen, saying that any harm done to humanitarian workers breaks international humanitarian law.

Yesterday, a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs sent France's condolences to the victim's family and the World Food Programme, praising “the exceptional work they carry out in Yemen”.

Authorities in Yemen had identified the World Food Programme official who was killed in the southern Taiz province, a security official told AFP.

Moayad Hameidi, the head of the UN food agency's office in Taiz, was shot on Friday in the nearby city of Turbah, Rome-based WFP said.

“The (suspected) perpetrator of the criminal assassination of the United Nations employee in the city of Turbah in Taiz [province] has been in the city of Taiz since 2017, after fleeing Aden due to security operations against Al Qaeda operatives,” the security official said on Friday.

The Yemeni Health Ministry wrote in a tweet that it was a “heinous criminal attack targeting one of the humanitarian workers of the World Food Programme in the city of Taiz.”

The Taiz province official was unable to confirm whether the suspect belonged to the terrorist group.

Aden has been the seat of Yemen's internationally recognised government since Iran-backed Houthi rebels seized the capital Sanaa in 2014.

The conflict escalated the following year when a Saudi-led coalition intervened in support of the government.

Fighting has eased over the past year, although sporadic attacks continue.

An arrest warrant has been issued for the suspect, according to an Interior Ministry telegram seen by AFP.

Taiz is controlled by the government but is surrounded and blockaded by areas under Houthi control.

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and militants loyal to ISIS have thrived in the chaos of Yemen's war.

The Saudi-led coalition as well as the US have clamped down on militants in Yemen.

On Friday, the WFP said it was “deeply saddened” by the death of its employee.

The agency later announced that “Moayad Hameidi, a Jordanian national, died shortly after being transferred to hospital.”

He “was shot and killed by unknown gunmen on Friday afternoon in Turbah”, it added.

“A dedicated humanitarian, Hameidi, had worked for WFP for 18 years, including a previous stint in Yemen as well as time in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq.”

WFP's Yemen country director, Richard Ragan, said: “Any loss of life in humanitarian service is an unacceptable tragedy.”

The UN special envoy for Yemen, Hans Grundberg, said in a tweet: “Our deepest condolences go out to Moayad's family, friends, and colleagues. And we mourn his tragic loss with the humanitarian community in Yemen.”

Reem Al Hashimy, the UAE's Minister of State for International Co-operation, said that the Emirates strongly condemned the killing and rejects all forms of violence and terrorism aimed at destabilising security and stability, Wam reported.

Ms Al Hashimy expressed her sincere condolences and sympathy to the government of Jordan, the family of the victim and to the World Food Programme, reiterating that targeting humanitarian aid staff is a flagrant violation of all international treaties that ensure their protection.

US special envoy for Yemen Tim Lenderking has condemned the “tragic” killing of Hameidi and expressed deepest condolences to his family and to the WFP family.

In 2018, Lebanese aid worker Hanna Lahoud, who worked for the International Committee of the Red Cross, was killed by unknown assailants in Taiz province.

Updated: July 23, 2023, 10:41 AM