Barack Obama condemns ‘barbaric murder’ of Luke Somers – Telegraph.co.uk

Posted: Sunday, December 07, 2014

The Gift of the Givers said that Korkie’s death came a day before he was due
to be freed after more than a year in captivity.

“The psychological and emotional devastation to (his wife) Yolande and
her family will be compounded by the knowledge that Pierre was to be
released by al-Qaeda tomorrow,” it said.

Ten militants were killed in the joint operation in Shabwa province in
southeast Yemen, Yemen’s defence ministry said.

A tribal leader said soldiers were seen parachuting into the area and
residents reported heavy clashes.

Obama said that since the abduction of Somers 15 months ago, Washington had
been using “every tool at our disposal” to try to secure his
release.

“Luke was a photojournalist who sought through his images to convey the
lives of Yemenis to the outside world,” Obama added.

“He came to Yemen in peace and was held against his will and threatened
by a despicable terrorist organisation.”

Washington has a long-standing policy of not negotiating with hostage-takers
or paying ransoms.

The United States has said that American and Yemeni forces had already tried
unsuccessfully to rescue Somers last month.

Luke Somers appears in a propaganda video released by al-Malahem Media
(AFP/Getty)

Yemen is a key US ally in the fight against al-Qaeda, allowing Washington to
conduct a long-standing drone war against the group on its territory.

AQAP is considered by Washington to be the most dangerous affiliate of
al-Qaeda.

The execution threat by AQAP followed the murder of five Western hostages
since August by the Islamic State in the Levant group that controls parts of
Syria and Iraq.

Two US journalists, James Foley and Steven Sotloff, American aid worker Peter
Kassig and British aid workers Alan Henning and David Haines were all
beheaded.

Al-Qaeda has exploited instability in impoverished Yemen since a 2011 uprising
forced President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down.

In recent years there has been a growing number of abductions in Yemen by
al-Qaeda.

The militants remain active in southern and eastern regions of Yemen despite
several military campaigns by government forces.

Al-Qaeda militants have allied with Sunni tribesmen in southern Yemen to halt
the advance of Shiite Huthi militias who seized Sanaa in September
unopposed, and who have since extended their control to coastal areas and
regions south of the capital.

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