x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Emirati girl, 15, rescued after Malaysia holiday abduction

A teenage girl kidnapped on holiday in Malaysia was rescued on Tuesday in a sting operation by undercover police and a team from the UAE embassy.

DUBAI // A teenage girl kidnapped on holiday in Malaysia was rescued today in a sting operation by undercover police and a team from the UAE embassy.

Khadija Mohammed Saeed Al Hadhrami, 15, from Sharjah, was abducted on Saturday from the Berjaya Times Square shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur by a man who wanted to marry her.

The 28-year-old Palestinian man met Khadija in a fast-food restaurant. He managed to spirit her out of the mall and then took her to his apartment, where he held the girl against her will for three days.

News that Khadija was safe was broken on Twitter by Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed, the Foreign Minister. “Thanks for the Malaysian government for ending the suffering of the Emirati who was found a short while back,” Sheikh Abdullah tweeted.

It is not known if Khadija and her abductor knew each other before the incident. Investigations are under way to determine the nature of their relationship.

“It is not clear how he managed to get her out of the mall, in one way or another, and held her hostage in his flat,” said Nasser Al Aboodi, the UAE ambassador to Malaysia.

Khadija’s family contacted the UAE embassy on Saturday night after the girl disappeared and her mobile phone was switched off.

“We immediately provided all necessary assistance for the family and contacted the concerned bodies in Malaysia to start the investigation,” Mr Al Aboodi said.

The Palestinian man, who himself had arrived in Malaysia only 10 days ago to study, first contacted Khadija’s parents on Sunday.

“He initially allowed the girl to write to her mother to tell her that she was fine, and then asked her father to meet him,” Mr Al Aboodi said.

“He told the father he wanted to marry the girl. He also asked that the father not notify police or the embassy of the time of the meeting.”

They father agreed to meet the man on Tuesday in another shopping mall, and the abductor brought the girl with him.

Undercover Malaysian police were in place, with a five-member team from the UAE embassy, including the ambassador. When the two men sat down, Malaysian authorities arrested the abductor.

“The girl was in a bad condition and she told her family later that he had not given her food for the time he held her,” Mr Al Aboodi said.

Khadija will undergo a medical examination to determine if she has been assaulted in any way, the ambassador said.

Khadija’s father, Mohammed, said the family had a very difficult day and he thanked God for the return of his daughter.

wissa@thenational.ae