The family of Luke Somers, an American being held hostage by al Qaeda militants in Yemen, have appealed to his captors to “show mercy” in a video message posted online. Luke's brother Jordan and mother Paula appeared in a video posted online Thursday.
“Luke... is a good person, and he has only been trying to do good things for the Yemeni population,” Luke's brother Jordan says in the clip. “Luke is only a photojournalist, and he is not responsible for any actions that the U.S. government has taken.”
“We know that you have taken good care of Luke, and that he appears healthy – we thank you for that,” Somers' mother says in the video. “Please show mercy and give us an opportunity to see our Luke again,” she adds.
The video comes just one day after the group holding Somers, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), threatened to kill him in a video posted online.
“We warn Obama and the American government of the consequences of proceeding ahead in any other foolish action,” said Nasser bin Ali al-Ansi, an AQAP official, in the video.
The U.S. disclosed that its military, acting in conjunction with Yemeni forces, launched an unsuccessful mission to rescue Somers last month, according to a report from the BBC.
"Regrettably, Luke was not present, though hostages of other nationalities were present and were rescued," the National Security Council said Thursday.
Somers had been moved to another location before the raid, which freed a number of other hostages, according to ABC News. In their video, the family added that they had no knowledge of the U.S.-led attempt to free Luke.
The Committee to Protect Journalists also appealed for Somers' release, according to NBC News.
"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," the organization's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator, Sherif Mansour, said in a statement.