Sept. 26 (UPI) — An American oil worker was captured in “broad daylight” from his car by an unidentified gunman in Yemen, his wife said.
Danny Lavone Burch, who has worked for several years as an engineer at a Yemeni oil company, was abducted Saturday morning.
“They did it in broad daylight in front of everyone,” Nadia Forsa, Burch’s wife, told The New York Times in a phone interview from Sana, the capital.
Burch, 63, worked on oil rigs in Yemen since 1994, traveling between Yemen and East Texas until moving to the Middle East nation in 2005.
“It’s heartbreaking,” Ron Burch told the Longview News Journal said upon learning Monday afternoon his older brother was abducted.
Ron Burch lives in Kilgore, Texas, with his wife, Kilgore Police Officer Angela Burch.
“I hope that he’s safe and is returned to his family. He’s never been a person who has spite or would cause problems for folks over there,” said Burch, who last saw his brother when he “moved to Yemen for good.”
Ron Burch, who is 10 years younger than his brother said: “He fell in love, man. My brother is that way. He forgot everything else in his life.”
He converted to Islam, married his second wife, Forsa, who is from Yemen, and has three children, ages 7, 9 and 12.
Forsa said her husband took their their sons to a sports club. When he did not return, she found that his phone had been turned off.
Witnesses said he was stopped on a busy street in Sana by five armed men in civilian clothes in a pickup truck with no license plates, police said.
The abduction was in an area controlled by the Houthis and where Al Qaeda is not believed be present.
A spokesman for the United States Embassy to Yemen, now based in Jidda, Saudi Arabia, neither confirmed nor denied the kidnapping.
In 2015, a French women working on a project with the World Bank was abducted with her Yemeni interpreter near Sana. They were released later that year.