An Australian soccer coach has disappeared in Yemen, one of the most dangerous places in the world.
The man, named as Craig Bruce McAllister by local media, disappeared almost a month ago in the capital Sana, controlled by ultraconservative Houthis rebles.
News reports translated from Arabic suggest Mr McAllister’s friends fear he may have been taken by local security agencies but Australian sources say kidnapping cannot be discounted.
Mr McAllister has spent about seven years in Yemen and moved to Sana from the southern city of Taiz when civil war broke out.
He disappeared without trace after overseeing training at the Al Ahli Football Club late last month.
A local report said soccer club players were urging “people of conscience faith and wisdom to reveal him”.
“And in case that he was arrested by the security authorities, they demand the security authorities to disclose his arrest to assure the athletes and reveal his fate,” a translation from the Yemeni Scene news website reads.
“A number of athletes appealed to all religious factions, those who are involved and have interests in the abduction of foreigners to fear God as he (Mr McAllister) is a human even if he is a non-Muslim, and that we will be asked about him on the Day of Resurrection.”
Australia has no diplomatic presence in Yemen, so Iran and Saudi Arabia might be asked for help in tracking him down.
“We do understand that an Australian who has been in Yemen for some time has been kidnapped, but we don’t know the details,” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop told Sky News yesterday. “We are seeking to provide consular support to his family to keep them informed.”
Australians are advised not to travel to Yemen.