Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Qarda’ee said the Al-Akwaa family will remain hostages until the Houthis free his own relative
Marib sheikh pressures Houthis to release relative by kidnapping Sana'a businessman, family
A tribal sheikh in Marib governorate has held a prominent businessman and his family hostage for several weeks in an effort to leverage the release of his own relative detained by the Houthis.
Businessman Abdul Karim Al-Akwaa and four family members were arrested on Jan. 30 at a government-run checkpoint belonging to the 13th Infantry Brigade in Marib, while traveling to Sanaa, after their return from Jordan’s capital Amman. The family was held at the checkpoint for several hours until a security officer handed them over to the kidnapper, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Qarda’ee, who belongs to the same tribe as the officer, a source close to the Al-Akwaa family told Almasdar Online.
The source said that Al-Qarda’ee took the Al-Akwaa family to his home in Madharah village in Marib’s southwestern Rahba district.
Al-Qarda’ee said that the Al-Akwaa family will remain hostages until either the Houthis agree to release his detained relative, or the government hands over Houthi prisoners who can be used as leverage for the release of his relative.
Relatives of the Al-Akwaa family hold government forces responsible for the abduction, as it was a security officer at the checkpoint in Marib who handed them over to the kidnappers. The family has appealed to Marib’s governor Sheikh Sultan Al-Arada and Marib’s security director to release their detained relatives.
The Al-Akwaa family and their relatives said they have no political affiliations and can’t exert pressure on any political party to carry out a prisoner exchange.
The Marib Businessmen's Club (MBC) and the Marib Tellers Association (MTA) denounced the abduction of the family and called it an affront to Islamic principles and ancient Yemeni customs, which don't condone the kidnapping of strangers not involved in a tribal dispute. The Al-Akwaas are well-known traders and investors and not linked to any of the conflict parties in Yemen. MBC and MTA have called on the local authorities in Marib, led by the governor and the security chief, to mediate the release of the family and protect all traders and investors from such acts.