Killer of Frenchman in Yemen had 'Qaeda links'

16th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

A Frenchman murdered by a security guard in Yemen at the Austrian company where they worked was killed in a terrorist crime rather than for personal reasons as first claimed, the interior minister said on Saturday.

"The investigation has revealed that this was a terrorist crime, whose perpetrator had contacts with elements of Al-Qaeda," official media quoted Motahar Rashad al-Masri as saying without elaborating.

Jacques Spagnolo, a contractor working for energy group OMV, was shot at the company's compound in the Yemeni capital Sanaa on October 6, the same day a British embassy car was targeted by a rocket attack that wounded one person.

Two days later, the defence ministry said security guard Hisham Mohammed Assem had probably acted for personal reasons in what was a criminal matter.

However, it stressed that the conclusions were preliminary.

A 65-year-old Scot, said to be OMV's security chief, was also wounded in the attack, the statement said.

At the time, OMV said it saw "no political background for the action taken by the Yemeni security guard."

Assem was disarmed and arrested.

OMV has had a sizeable presence in Yemen since it acquired Germany's Preussag Energie in 2003, with three large exploration and production licences and daily oil output of around 6,500 barrels per day.

In July, Al-Qaeda militants launched an attack near one of the OMV-operated oil fields in the southeastern Shabwa province.

Yemen, the poorest country in the Arabian peninsula and the ancestral homeland of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, faces a growing threat from the local branch of the jihadist network.

© 2010 AFP

0 Comments To This Article