According to Yemeni media reports, Ma’reb Press website correspondent Abdallah Azizan was killed on 29 May while covering clashes between Houthi rebels and pro-government forces in Bayhan, a town in Shabwah province 300 km east of the capital. He is said to have been killed by sniper fire from the Houthi side.
The families of the journalists detained by the Houthi rebels have been quoted by the local media as saying they have been transferred from Habra prison to an unknown destination. Held by the Houthis for nearly a year, these journalists began a hunger strike on 9 May.
“We condemn the disastrous state of media freedom in Yemen,” said Alexandra El Khazen, the head of RSF’s Middle East desk. “Journalists are being targeted by all parties and cannot cover the war without risking their lives. We call on the Houthis to free the detained journalists and we remind all parties to the conflict of their duty to protect all civilians including journalists.”
It has become extremely difficult to cover the situation in Yemen and to obtain reliable information because many journalists have fled the country or their hometown, or have chosen to stop working as journalists.
According to RSF’s tally, Azizan was the fifth journalist to be killed since the start of the year in Yemen. He was preceded by Mohammed Al Yemeni, who was killed on 21 March while covering clashes in the city of Taiz. A total of eight journalists and media workers were killed in the course of their work in 2015.
Yemen is ranked 170th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.