Sheffield dad’s anguish over baby daughter stuck in Yemeni war zone

Have your say

A heartbroken Sheffield dad has spoken of his anguish after his 11-month-old baby daughter was left trapped in war-torn Yemen due to a passport delay.

Ahmed Saleh, aged 37, of Castle Court, Hyde Park, has ‘hardly slept’ since civil war broke out in Yemen where his daughter Kawther is currently with her grandmother.

Ahmed Saleh with daughter Kawther who is trapped in Yemen

Ahmed Saleh with daughter Kawther who is trapped in Yemen

Ahmed, a Sheffield resident since 1999, and his wife Amal, 31, had their daughter in Yemen in May 2014, but had to return to the UK for Ahmed to care for his sick mother.

He said: “Every day passes with word from Yemen that houses are being bombed – and our family have had to escape from the constant shelling day and night.

“It is already a heart-wrenching situation. I fear for their lives as well as my daughter’s – the death toll is rising in the hundreds daily.”

Ahmed had notification of the passport application on January 2 and was told it would take 12 weeks.

He added: “I haven’t slept for weeks, my hands are tied, the passport office are the ones who have tied them.

“She should be here in the arms of her mother and father not in the clutches of warlords and dictators.

“Bombs and RPG rockets fall around her and I worry every day for her safety.

“All because of her passport, it’s ludicrous.”

A spokesman from the Passport Office said they were still awaiting a naturalisation certificate from Mr Saleh to deal with the application.

But Ahmed said he had already sent the document to the Home Office and it had never been returned. A new one would take three months to process.

Paul Blomfield, Labour candidate for Sheffield Central, said: “I am pressing the Home Office to deal with this case as quickly as possible and I will continue to offer Mr Saleh any support I can.”

Kawther, who has dual British-Yemini nationality, is currently in Aden, Yemen’s second city.

Fighting has intensified between pro-goverment Sunni fighters and Shia Houthi militia rebels – who entered Aden a few weeks ago after a huge ground offensive.

Saudi Arabia, the US and a coalition of Gulf nations have now joined bombing raids on the Houthi rebels.