BBC World Service concerned for Yemen correspondent

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The BBC World Service expressed serious concern for the safety of its correspondent in Yemen Tuesday, saying a minister had singled the journalist out for criticism as unrest rocked the country.

Arabic service reporter Abdullah Ghorab was accused by Deputy Information Minister Abdo al-Janadi during a televised press conference on Monday of filing false stories, the broadcaster said in a statement.

The official had also called for the BBC journalist to be arrested, it said.

"We are deeply concerned about Abdullah's security and call on the authorities in Yemen to ensure his safety," said Liliane Landor, Controller of Languages at BBC Global News.

"Abdullah Ghorab is a well-respected journalist who is very committed to the BBC's principles of impartiality, balance and accuracy. Mr al-Janadi's statement brings Abdullah under great threat and places serious restrictions on his ability to report the news from Yemen," Landor added.

Yemeni security forces had detained and assaulted Ghorab on two previous occasions, the BBC said.

Gunfire and shelling rocked the Yemeni capital Sanaa for the third straight day on Tuesday as the toll from the worst outbreak of violence in Yemen's capital in months spiralled to 60 dead.

The violence has hampered attempts by regional and international mediators to clinch a power transfer deal between dissident troops and those loyal to President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

© 2011 AFP

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