Breaking News Emails
The family of an American man being threatened with execution by militants in Yemen pleaded for his life in a video message Thursday — and said they had no advance knowledge of a U.S. military operation to rescue him.
"Up to this point, we have no explanation for why Luke was targeted as a victim and we currently don’t know why he is being held," said Jordan Somers, brother of photojournalist Luke Somers, who was kidnapped a year ago.
"He is a good person and he has only been trying to do good things for the Yemeni population. He goes out of his way to care for and respect the common person, and he has made many lasting friends in Yemen," the brother said.
"Luke is only a photojournalist and he is not responsible for any action the U.S. government has taken. Please understand that we had no prior knowledge of the rescue attempt for Luke and we mean no harm to anyone," he added.
His mother added, "We know that you have taken good care of Luke and he appears healthy. We thank you for that. Please show mercy and give us an opportunity to see our Luke again. He is all that we have."
Addressing her son directly, she said, "Luke, if you are able to hear or see us, please know we are doing everything possible to help you. Our hearts are with you. We miss you and we love you and all we want to do is see you again and have you safely in our arms."
The video was posted on YouTube and verified by NBC News.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also appealed for Somers' release.
"We call for the immediate release of Luke Somers, who went to Yemen to gather and report news about the country at a critical juncture in its history," CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, said in a statement.
"We hope that Luke, like Matt Schrier and Peter Theo Curtis, journalists released by Al-Qaeda's affiliate in Syria after prolonged captivities, will be able to return home safely to his family soon."