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Middle east

Frenchman wounded in Yemen machine-gun attack

Text by News Wires

Latest update : 2012-05-01

A French security official working for energy company Total was wounded and a Yemeni soldier killed when suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen attacked their vehicle in the eastern province of Sayun on Tuesday. The Frenchman is in a stable condition.

REUTERS - Suspected al Qaeda-linked gunmen killed a Yemeni man working for Total on Tuesday and wounded a Frenchman and another Yemeni employee of the French oil group, a Total security official said.

The attack took place as they were driving from an oil field in eastern Hadramout province to an airport in the town of Seiyun.

“They were on their way to Seiyun airport. They were 2 km (1.2 miles) northeast of Seiyun when the car came under attack by five masked gunmen with rifles,” the Total official said.

“We don’t know the identity of the gunmen but we suspect it was al Qaeda.”

A year of political upheaval that eventually unseated former President Ali Abdullah Saleh has emboldened militants in Yemen where they have seized swathes of territory and carried out scores of attacks.

In a video posted on Tuesday, a Swiss woman kidnapped in Yemen in March said that she was being held by al Qaeda and asked Swiss authorities to help her.

Yemen is a small crude oil producer but instability on its territory is a potential risk to global trade because of its location on the Bab al-Mandab strait, a crucial trading route linking Asia, Europe and the Americas.

The Total official said the Yemeni who died was an escort soldier and had been sitting in the front passenger seat.

The Frenchman, who was seated in the back of the vehicle, received a gunshot to the leg. His Yemeni colleague, sitting beside him, was in a critical condition, having been shot three times in the chest.

Yemen’s foreign ministry said the attack had been carried out by “terrorists”, in a text message sent to Reuters.

Date created : 2012-05-01

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