FLASH: Yemen increasingly hostile to foreign diplomatic representations

Bulgarian ambassador Boris Borisov escaped a kidnapping attempt on 13/05 in Sana’a, Yemen,  when a pick-up truck tracked and blocked the diplomatic car he was driving along with his wife. Borisov, who has been serving in Yemen as interim ambassador since 2008 and appointed as ambassador only a week ago, was injured in the attack but was able to escape and will be rushed to Bulgaria for treatment.

Meanwhile, Oman’s mission in Sana’a had to close on Saturday (12/05) after receiving repeated threats. A diplomat was quoted as saying that most diplomatic representations in Yemen, including those of Gulf states, have received terrorists threats lately.

On May 2, a French citizen working with Total also escaped a kidnapping attempt by masked armed men in hadramout. Two Yemeni officers were killed in the attack, including the son of the security chief of the capital Sana’a.

On April 17, a Saudi diplomat was kidnapped in Aden in exchange of prisoners’ release and a ransom payment by Al-Qaeda-affiliated militants who warned of more attacks, including an embassy bombing.

GCC countries have been closely involved in a power-transfer agreement that saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh stepping down in favor of his Vice-President. A reshuffling of the military and security apparatuses followed the election of President Mansour Al-Hadi which deepened fears of a vacuum that would be exploited by terrorists. US military personnel have just resumed training missions after a brief suspension and, according to a report in the British Sunday Express, British special forces are also active in the country all in an attempt to cover for the failings that might result from sidelining security officials linked to Saleh.

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