Japanese diplomat stabbed in Sanaa
SANAA // Assailants stabbed a Japanese diplomat repeatedly on Sunday after dragging him from his car in the Yemeni capital, the scene of a spate of attacks on foreigners, the embassy and witnesses said.
The consul and second secretary at the embassy suffered five stab wounds in the morning attack in the Hadda neighbourhood, an embassy spokesman said.
“He is in a stable condition,” a diplomat said yesterday, while a medical source said “he needs to be [in] hospital for few days to recover.”
The embassy spokesman declined to disclose the name of the consul.
It was unclear if the attack was an attempted kidnapping.
The spokesman said he had been driving ahead of the consul, who was no longer behind him when he arrived at the embassy.
The diplomats had been driving without guards, he added.
Witnesses said six masked men attacked the diplomat in a small street, about 250 metres away from the Japanese mission.
They pulled him out of his car and one of the assailants hit him on the head with a pistol butt, before pushing him to the ground and driving off in his vehicle.
Local residents said they administered first aid in a nearby shop, until an embassy vehicle arrived and took him away.
Security forces deployed around the hospital and set up checkpoints.
Foreigners are frequently attacked or kidnapped in Yemen, home to Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula which is viewed by the United States as the network’s deadliest franchise.
But armed tribesmen also kidnap foreigners to use as bargaining chips to gain government concessions.
A Dutch couple was set free last week after spending six months in captivity.
In late November, unidentified gunmen killed a Belarusian defence contractor and wounded another in an attack outside their hotel in Sanaa.
And a German embassy guard was killed in October as he resisted an attempt to kidnap him.
* Agence France-Presse
Updated: December 15, 2013 04:00 AM