Al Jazeera bureau in Yemen forcibly closed

Media network denounces forced closure of its office in Taiz in the war-torn country’s south.

Al Jazeera Media Network
Al Jazeera has denounced the 'atrocious and unwarranted action' [Eric Gaillard/Reuters]

Al Jazeera has condemned the forced closure of its bureau in Yemen’s southern city of Taiz.

The office was ordered shut by soldiers on Tuesday for reasons that were not made clear, Al Jazeera Media Network said in a statement.

“The Yemeni military force belonging to the Higher Security Command in Taiz, southern Yemen, stormed Al Jazeera Media Network’s offices in the city and forcefully ordered its closure,” it said.

“The Network calls on the authorities in the city of Taiz to reverse its decision and allow Al Jazeera’s journalists to carry out their professional responsibilities duties without any hindrance or intimidation.”

It was not the first time Al Jazeera journalists have been targeted in the city. Three network staff were abducted in Taiz in January last year.

It is extremely dangerous for media workers to report throughout the war-torn country. Houthi rebels last month attacked the Yemen Al Youm TV channel and took dozens of media staff hostage.

Taiz has become a flashpoint in the ongoing war in Yemen as it is seen as a strategic gateway between the capital Sanaa and the south.

Yemen has been torn apart by conflict since 2014 when Houthi rebels captured large expanses of the country, including Sanaa.

Saudi Arabia launched a massive aerial campaign against the rebels in March 2015, aimed at restoring the government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi.

Since then, the Houthis have been dislodged from most of the south, but remain in control of Sanaa and much of the north.

An estimated 10,000 people have died in the war. Yemen also faces a deadly cholera outbreak, a direct consequence of the conflict, which has claimed about 2,000 lives and affected more than one million people since April 2017.

Source: Al Jazeera