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U.S. Helps Probe Fatal Yemen Shootings

March 19, 2003

SAN`A, Yemen (AP) _ Yemen has allowed the United States to help investigate the slayings of two North Americans and a Yemeni, the U.S. Embassy said Wednesday.

In a Tuesday attack, an oil worker shot and killed an American, a Canadian and the Yemeni, and wounded another Canadian. He then shot himself dead.

``We have a team in Marib assisting Yemeni authorities into the investigation,″ a U.S. Embassy official said, referring to a province about 100 miles northeast of the capital, San’a. The official spoke on condition of anonymity. Further details were not available.

The wounded Canadian _ whom Canada’s CBC radio identified as Mark Edwards, 38, of Edmonton, Alberta _ was flown to Switzerland on Wednesday for treatment of abdomen wounds, said Yves Duval, the Canadian Embassy spokesman in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The American victim was Ronald Horsch, 65, of Munday, Texas, about 170 miles northwest of Dallas. Hunt Oil Co. said in a statement he was a superintendent employed by the Dallas-based company.

The motive for the attack was believed to personal, the Yemeni Interior Ministry has said. The assailant, Naji Abdullah al-Kumaim, had worked for Nabors Drilling Co., which owned the rig, for seven years. All the victims except Horsch worked for Nabors.

Yemeni authorities said al-Kumaim’s colleagues reported he suffered from depression. He was not known to have previous political affiliations, they said. During the shooting, he shouted he would take revenge on people filing reports about him.

Hunt Oil Co. said it had suspended drilling operations in Yemen ``for the foreseeable future.″

Funeral services for Horsch, a native of Wellington, Kan., were being planned in Kansas. His widow and children drove there Tuesday night.

Horsch’s friends said he was involved in church activities and in helping the needy in the small Texas town where he lived about half the year. He spent the rest of his time in Yemen.

``He liked it in Yemen and loved to work on the rigs,″ said another Hunt Oil foreman, Roger Rosencranz. ``His motto was, ’I love my job.‴

In Ottawa, a Foreign Affairs Department spokesman identified the dead Canadian as William Sivell, 45, known to his friends as Rob. Sivell lived with his wife and twin 1-year-old daughters in Buena Vista, Saskatchewan.

``(The twins) just celebrated their birthday about a half-month ago,″ said Sivell’s older brother, Brian, from Red Deer, Alberta.

The Yemeni victim was identified as Nazem al-Kabati.

Large parts of Yemen are lawless areas where tribesmen reach for their guns to settle disputes. But there have been several cases of anti-Western terrorism carried out by Islamic militants.

In 2000, an explosives-laden boat rammed the destroyer USS Cole as it was refueling in Aden, killing 17 U.S. sailors. In October, a similar suicide attack on a French oil tanker off the coast killed a Bulgarian crew member.

In December, a suspected Islamic militant shot dead three U.S. missionaries who worked at a Baptist hospital in Yemen.

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