Suspect identified in the assassination of UN official Moayad Hameidi in Yemen

In the shadow of continued instability in Yemen, a potential breakthrough has been reported by the local authorities, with the identification of a suspect in the murder of Moayad Hameidi, the World Food Programme (WFP) representative based in Taiz. Hameidi, a key figure of the Rome-based UN food agency’s work in Yemen, was tragically gunned down last Friday in the neighbouring city of Turbah.

The suspect has allegedly resided in Taiz since 2017 after leaving Aden in the wake of security operations against Al Qaeda militants. The identity of the official who revealed this information remains confidential, and they were unable to confirm whether the suspect has connections to any Islamist groups.

Aden has served as the base for Yemen’s internationally recognised government since Houthi rebels, backed by Iran, seized control of the capital Sanaa in 2014. The conflict escalated further in 2015 with the intervention of a Saudi-led coalition supporting the embattled government.

Taiz, controlled by the government, faces a blockade from surrounding Houthi-controlled areas. The chaos of the war in Yemen has provided fertile ground for extremist groups such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula and ISIS loyalists. A considerable security effort has been made by the Saudi-led coalition, backed by US and UAE forces, to suppress these radical elements.

An arrest warrant for the suspect has been issued, as confirmed by an Interior Ministry telegram obtained by AFP. The violence has diminished over the past year, yet sporadic attacks continue to disrupt the fragile peace.

The late Moayad Hameidi, a Jordanian national, had been a stalwart of the WFP for 18 years, serving not only in Yemen, but also in Sudan, Syria, and Iraq. His sudden death triggered profound sadness within the agency, with WFP’s Yemen country director, Richard Ragan, declaring any loss of life in humanitarian service as an “unacceptable tragedy.”

The global community has also responded, with Hans Grundberg, the UN special envoy for Yemen, expressing condolences to Hameidi’s family, friends, and colleagues, while mourning alongside the humanitarian community in Yemen.

The UAE’s Minister of State for International Co-operation, Reem Al Hashimy, condemned the murder emphatically, highlighting the targeting of humanitarian aid staff as a “flagrant violation of all international treaties that ensure their protection.”

US special envoy for Yemen, Tim Lenderking, also denounced Hameidi’s killing and extended his deepest sympathies to Hameidi’s family and the WFP team.

This tragic event echoes the 2018 killing of Lebanese aid worker Hanna Lahoud, a member of the International Committee of the Red Cross, whose murderers are yet to be found. Hameidi’s death serves as a harsh reminder of the significant dangers faced by humanitarian workers in conflict-ridden zones like Yemen.

Tags : Yemen